SCHOOL FUNDING MYSTERY

The Texas Supreme Court recently and unanimously ruled that the state’s school funding system is constitutional. They stated: “Our Byzantine school funding ‘system’ is undeniably imperfect, with immense room for improvement. But it satisfies minimum constitutional requirements. Accordingly, we decline to usurp legislative authority by issuing diktats from on high, supplanting lawmakers’ policy WISDOM with our own.”

The evidence for the unconstitutionality of our funding system is so overwhelming I wrongly predicted there was no chance the Supreme Court could overturn the findings of the district court. Boy, was I wrong. It took tortured language and 100 pages, but our Supreme Court found a way.

Here’s the problem with school funding: There are seven inches of expensive state and federal regulations found in every school district’s administration offices. Who put them there? Answer: The very same legislative/judicial/executive branches telling us money is not the answer!

Regulations have grown, not withered, during the past two decades.   Significant deregulation of public schools allowing funding adequacy and efficiency is a pipe dream.

Meanwhile, our society has expanded the role of educator from classroom instructor to lifesaver and parent. Teachers are now like the ancient Israelites commanded by Pharaoh to increase the quota of bricks (graduates) — and find their own straw (money).

So this is the future as I see it: We’ll continue to be told the public schools aren’t doing enough. In the meantime, our legislators will continue to add new inches of expensive special interest regulation to the state’s public schools, calling them “reforms.”

My World War II Marine Corps dad would have simply said: “Don’t shower me with spit and tell me it’s raining!”

 

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