Texas is one of the worst-funded states for public education, according to a new report. The state ranked 41st in the nation for its overall state fiscal system for education, as Gov. Greg Abbott tries to defund public schools with money from a Pennsylvania billionaire.
In a new report, researchers from the Albert Shanker Institute, the University of Miami and Rutgers University evaluated the state’s school finance systems. They found that 60% of the nation’s students in chronically underfunded districts are in just 10 states, and Texas is one of them. They ranked Texas as a medium fiscal effort state, which means it has the capacity to address the problem, but it doesn’t.
The study also measured how a state funds public education versus how it should fund public education to achieve average test scores. One of the key findings was that over 91% of Texas public school students attend underfunded schools. In terms of adequate funding, Texas ranked 44th.
The report comes as Abbott is pushing to further defund public schools. He recently received a $6 million donation from the richest man in Pennsylvania, who also happens to be a proponent of school vouchers.
“Just recently, Governor Abbott accepted a $6 million donation from school voucher supporter and Pennsylvania billionaire Jeff Yass,” said Zeph Capo, president of Texas American Federation of Teachers in a press release. “With public school funding in Texas this low, you have to wonder why the governor continues to push for a scheme that siphons desperately needed financing from the public schools that are cornerstones of our community and major employers in many parts of Texas.
The report ends by recommending states to increase funding to public schools when they have the capacity to do so (like Texas), to better target funding and to eliminate regressive policies.
“This report shows what we already know: Texas public schools have never been fully funded under this governor’s watch. So instead of paying back his wealthy out-of-state donors with our taxpayer dollars, the governor should focus on giving public schools, teachers, and young Texans who are the future of our state what they need to thrive — something our state leaders failed to do in five sessions last year,” Capo concluded.