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  • Susan Stoderl

Beyond the Books | Texas Assault on Free Public Schools

Public School House.
State of Texas Trying to Take Money Away from Public Schools

Free public schooling is a hallmark of a democratic society. In Texas, the governor and legislature are working to dismantle quality public education. Wealthy kids will always have access to a quality education, but the poor and minorities do not. They rely upon public school.

When Gov. Greg Abbott released his “2024 Report to the People of Texas”, it didn’t paint a realistic picture of the Texas school systems. Despite a $33 billion surplus, the largest in history, the Texas Legislature did not increase the basic school allotment of $9-10K per student, despite historic inflation since 2019.

Crucial items like special education and school safety remain underfunded. Instead, funding is being tied to funding a universal voucher system. Ninety-one percent of Texas school districts are underfunded. There is no question why Texas is in 44th place on U.S. standardized test scores. 

While Texas holds the title of the second-largest state economy, it has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. Nearly 43% of Texan households (about 4.6 million of 10.7 million) struggle to afford essential expenses. Financial hardship disproportionately affects Black and Latino households, single-parent families, and those living in rural areas. 

In Texas, parents are not required to notify the state or local school district when homeschooling their children. Homeschools are private schools and, as such, can receive school vouchers. In private and public schools, educators have to show credentials to teach—not the case with homeschooling. Homeschooled kids do not undergo testing to meet certain literacy requirements. Homeschooling can be good, but does it give everything a child needs, such as social awareness and getting along with others? Some homeschoolers I know were already highly trained teachers. But that is not the case with everyone.


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