Public Education

Ryan E. Poppe

 House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican from Killeen, introduced a bill that would provide most school districts with more money in per pupil spending. Aycock said that coming up with an appropriate formula and then getting members of the Legislature to agree with it has been a near impossible task.

Ryan E. Poppe

After some heated debate and some changes, a bill that reforms how school districts can respond to children repeatedly missing class passed in the Texas Senate. 

At the start of the session during his State of Judiciary address, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht told lawmakers that reforming truancy laws was one of the most important issues facing them this session.  And the bill’s author, Houston Democratic Sen. John Whitmire tends to agree.

Credit: Wikicommons http://bit.ly/1CPNiYT

The latest effort to improve Texas education involves vouchers. Instead of being confined by zip codes, families could elect to send their children to private and specialty schools, and the dollars allocated to students follow them. 

While this plan would allow students to choose schools based on individual needs rather than their addresses, critics point out that vouchers may create more disparity.

genefortexas.com; Source: Texas Legislative Budget Board

DALLAS — Texas has improved its state support for public education but still lags behind most of the nation, according to an annual report issued Wednesday. The report from the National Education Association also showed Texas ranks first nationally in the number of public school districts and second to California in enrollment.

Public school revenue per student in Texas rose from $9,909, 41st nationally, in 2012-2013 to $10,334 in 2013-2014, 39th nationally. In those same years, the national average rose from $12,090 to $12,357.

Texas school districts had to generate 49.5 percent of their revenue, ranking 15th nationally, in 2013-2014, up from 47.8 percent in 2012-2013, 18th nationally.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

The State of Texas lacks public school counselors. According to a study by the Ray Marshall Center for the study of Human Resources, they were the first positions eliminated after the deep public school funding cuts of 2011. The student-to-counselor ratios in some San Antonio schools, for instance, are more than 600 to one.

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