(AUSTIN) — The Texas House Select Committee on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment released its report and recommendations on Friday. The committee, formed after the 2023 regular legislative session failed to produce meaningful investments in public education, took two days of testimony in July from parents, educators, advocates and others.
“We are grateful that the Texas House continues looking for ways to put needed resources into public education,” said HD Chambers, Executive Director of the Texas School Alliance, which represents 45 of the largest school districts in Texas. “This report correctly notes that inflation and high rates of teacher attrition are having a real impact on Texas classrooms. Texans are frustrated and disappointed that our schools are starting again this month without the resources they need because the Legislature has not delivered those resources, even with a historic budget surplus. Our Governor and Legislature have not finished the job.”
TSA applauds the committee’s recommendations for improving the state’s testing and accountability system.
“This report provides a roadmap for improving in the way that the state uses assessments and evaluates schools,” Chambers said. “For too long, our accountability system has failed to reflect the full work that we require of our schools every day.”
The report was issued as legislators are expected to convene in a fall special session to consider school funding as well as taxpayer-funded vouchers paying for students to attend private and home schools. In the regular session this year, the Texas Senate effectively killed an increase in the Basic Allotment — the state’s core unit of education funding — by tying such an increase to the passage of private-school vouchers. Laudably, the Texas House did not take a vote to support vouchers.
“It’s time to accept the fact that the Legislature does not support private-school vouchers and to focus instead on helping the 5 million students enrolled in public schools,” said Magda Hernandez, the Superintendent of Irving ISD and the incoming President of TSA. “Earlier this year, our public schools were taken hostage by those who are desperate to send taxpayer dollars to private schools. We urge the Legislature to now take a different approach. Texas consistently ranks among the bottom 10 states in per-student funding. Our legislators have an opportunity to show support for our students and teachers in a meaningful way. We hope that they rise to the occasion.”