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Texas: Time to Pay the Bill for Special Education

August 28, 2018

This underfunding is unconscionable and will only be solved by increasing taxes.

In her closing paragraph, Diane Ravitch suggests tapping into a rainy day fund to help underwrite this gap in services, noting in the same paragraph other problems Texas faces. I do not think the rainy day fund should be used to solve this problem, and, given the impact of climate change on the Texas coast I can understand why the legislature might want to leave $11,000,000,000 untouched. But here’s the bottom line: Texans need to increase their taxes year-in-and-year-out if they want to ensure that all children get the education they deserve, all citizens get the health care they need, and retirees receive the pensions they worked to earn. As many commenters indicate, there’s plenty of money in the coffers of oil companies and billionaires in the state. It’s past time for some of that money to trickle down into the state budget.

Diane Ravitch's blog

An editorial in the Houston Chronicle brings up to date the story of Texas’ failure to pay the cost of educating students with disabilities.

“Imagine being a teacher and told not to bother trying to help a child who is having difficulty learning. That was happening routinely in Texas public schools before the legislature was shamed into eliminating an 8.5 percent cap the state had placed on special education enrollment.

“The federal Department of Education in January told the Texas Education Agency that the “target” it first imposed in 2004 violated federal laws requiring schools to serve all students. The cap wasn’t just illegal, it was morally reprehensible and shortsighted.

“The cap limited the aspirations of students with learning disabilities who didn’t get the help they needed, and shortchanged the state’s future by inadequately educating thousands of its children.

“The cap’s impact was reported last year in the Chronicle’s investigative…

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