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Houston Brain Trust Lawmakers: Let’s Tie School Funding to Dumpster Fire Testing Standards

Houston Brain Trust Lawmakers: Let’s Tie School Funding to Dumpster Fire Testing Standards

Texas Tribune: The timing is particularly right given a recent state Supreme Court ruling that found the state’s school funding system to be byzantine but constitutional

Texas Tribune – Should Texas fund public schools based on their academic performance rather than just giving them a certain amount of money per student? As that idea appears to take hold with conservative lawmakers who want increased accountability, some school officials fear a badly designed program would sap funding from poor, struggling schools or fail to consider the challenges individual schools face. 

At Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s direction, state senators on Wednesday will begin exploring how best to go about tying funding to performance, with the upper chamber’s education committee set to take testimony from several entities — including for-profit companies — that have designed such systems.

School officials are highly wary of the concept, which was among several education-related interim charges Patrick announced late last year.

It’s far from the first time lawmakers have scrutinized the bang for the buck of the public education system, which is the state’s second-largest expense after health and human services. But they have stopped short of connecting funding to individual school performance. 

Now is the time, said state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Patrick ally who is pushing for a transition to some type of performance-based funding system. The Houston Republican says he is keeping an open mind about what exactly it would look like.

“I think that in the 21st century we should be looking at other markers of success besides just showing up,” said the Senate Education Committee member.

Along with standardized exam scores, Bettencourt said, performance could be measured by things like administrative costs and graduation rates. He said other states have enacted such systems, but he could not specify one he’d like to mirror, saying he is still in the information-gathering phase.

Read more at Texas Tribune | Kiah Collier / Photo: Houston Public Radio

Related: Lubbock Radio Host Challenges Lt. Gov. Patrick to ‘School Choice’ Debate




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