ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: EDUCATION


Many Texans are poor, not because they don't work, but because their work pays too little to raise a family out of poverty. To ensure economic prosperity, Texas public policy must support work, make work pay, and help families build their assets. The most important thing the state can do to enhance economic opportunity is to invest in public education—from early childhood education all the way through higher education.

Recent Education Publications

Statement by F. Scott McCown on the Texas Supreme Court’s School Finance Ruling (11/22/2005)
Today, the Texas Supreme Court ruled (7 to 1) in the school finance case, holding that local school district property taxes capped at $1.50 per $100 valuation constitute a state property tax prohibited by the constitution but that public school financing does not yet violate the “general diffusion of knowledge” mandate of adequacy, efficiency, or suitability. The Court did not rule that “Robin Hood” or “recapture” is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court extended the trial court’s October 1 deadline for a legislative solution to June 1. Read the statement of retired state district judge Scott McCown, who presided over all of Texas' public school finance cases from 1990-2002.

Analysis of Sixty-Five Percent Rule in School Spending (09/27/2005)
In August, the Governor issued an executive order requiring that “65 percent of school district funds be expended for instructional purposes as defined by the National Center for Education Statistics." Requiring school districts to spend at least 65% of their operating budget on “instruction” as defined by the federal government would not enhance student achievement, would have unintended negative consequences, and would move Texas back to measuring process rather than performance.

The Performance of Public Education in Texas (07/30/2005)
A presentation Scott McCown delivered about the performance of public education in Texas.

Call to Action on School Finance (07/20/2005)
F. Scott McCown's Open Letter to the 79th Legislature urges members to vote "NO" on HB 2, the pending school finance legislation. Make your voice heard. Urge your representative and senator to vote NO.

Learning to Share; Justices Could Ensure Texas Children Get More Than Crumbs: Austin American-Statesman (07/7/2005)
If you have two boys, one big and one small, and you give the big boy a cookie and ask him to share, the little boy will get crumbs. And as long as the big boys are allowed to "share" this way, they won't throw in their nickels to buy a big enough cookie for all of the kids. When it comes to school finance, Texas needs a really big cookie.

How to Judge What's Proposed in the Special Session (06/23/2005)
In the current special session the Legislature could make significant changes to the state’s revenue system, as well as to the school-finance system. The tax system established in a special session could determine the size of state budgets for the next ten years or more. Both tax and school finance proposals can be judged by the same criteria " equity, adequacy, and sustainability. This Policy Page will compare HB 3, the tax bill filed in the House for the special session, the version of the tax bill that the Senate passed during the regular session, the proposal by Governor Perry, and HB 15, an alternative school finance bill filed by Rep. Hochberg for the special session.

Austin Effort to Improve Schools Disappoints Again: Houston Chronicle (03/20/2005)
The Texas House has finished its education and tax bills. Now the Senate goes to work. Let's compare what the House has adopted with where the Senate is starting.

Statement Regarding the House Public Education Committee Plan (02/28/2005)
Before becoming director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, I was the state district court judge that heard the state's school finance cases from 1989 to 2002, including the Edgewood case and the initial phase of the West Orange Cove case, which is now pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

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