At one level — had I been following this case more closely — I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Texas Supreme Court had ruled the state’s public school funding system to be “constitutional.”
I’ll admit that I haven’t been as avid a follower of this issue as I should have been.
The court ruled this week that the state is doing all it should be doing to finance public education. Never mind that previous courts, previous judges and educators across the state have said the state does far too little to support public education.
Not so, said the state’s highest civil appellate court.
The Dallas Morning News editorial I’ve attached to this blog post lays it out pretty well. The Texas Supremes have set an amazingly low bar for state public education.
The court has declared in its unanimous ruling that taking care of public schools rests exclusively with the Texas Legislature.
Here is what I do know about the state of public school financing in Texas.
The Legislature has dramatically cut state spending on public schools over the past several sessions. Do the Supreme Court justices now believe the Legislature is going to reverse itself, that it’s going to find more money to distribute equitably among the more than 1,000 independent school districts around the state?
Of course, the political ramifications must be factored in.
Republicans control — by wide margins — both legislative chambers. They also occupy every statewide office in Texas. That includes the nine individuals who comprise the Texas Supreme Court.
Who out there really thinks the justices ever were going to buck the policies set by their GOP brethren in the other two branches of state government?
Here’s part of what the Morning News said: “In refusing to intervene, they’ve placed an enormous responsibility to fix our system of school finance on the shoulders of state lawmakers, the same lawmakers who have refused for decades to do what is needed. As a result, Texas’ 5 million public school children will be the ones who most directly bear the costs of the high court’s refusal to fix a system that it concedes requires ‘transformational, top-to-bottom reforms.'”
The justices have recognized the state’s public education system is broken but they won’t do anything to fix it.
The ball’s back in the Legislature’s court. Again.
Do something, lawmakers, to repair the system you’ve broken.