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TAB joins school finance litigation

But not as a force for good.

The Texas Association of Business announced today that it will join a school finance lawsuit against the state, demanding a study of Texas school system efficiency.

“The Constitution of Texas calls for the state to provide an efficient public school system, and in our view, clearly the school system is not efficient,” said Bill Hammond, the organization’s president. “Only two-thirds of ninth-graders graduate in four years, and, of those who graduate, only a quarter are what we call career- or college-ready.”

Hammond hopes the suit will encourage the Legislature or the appropriate agency to produce a study into how much it may cost to create a better school system — even if that may cost more than what is currently spent.

“I would not preclude [spending more on students],” Hammond said. “We need an honest broker to do the study on the true costs of educating a child. We’ll deal with the facts as they’re presented to us.”

TAB will be joining the fifth party to sign up for litigation against the state, a group made up of parents. Hammond noted that they are they only litigants in the lawsuit looking specifically into efficiency.

Hammond made the announcement alongside former Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch and Chris Diamond, both attorneys in the case, and former House Education Committee Chairman Kent Grusendorf, who heads the organization bringing the lawsuit.

Calling that fifth group “made up of parents” is more than a bit disingenuous. The group in question is Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, and you only have to spend a few minutes on their sparse website to recognize that they’re a front group for charter schools and voucher proponents. Having TAB on their side is further evidence that their involvement isn’t about educating kids but about protecting their own financial interests. As that earlier Trib story notes, they’re there to provide a way out that doesn’t require the Lege to adequately fund public education. It’s not clear yet what role they’ll be allowed to play in the suit; the other plaintiffs, whose interests are not aligned with TREE’s, have not taken any formal action in response to their entry. Just remember when you see vague media descriptions of these guys who they really are. Postcards and Trail Blazers have more.

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2 Comments

  1. JB says:

    This study he is looking for is already done every year by TEA. To save money, why don’t we just add whatever efficeincy measures to the FIRST rating study I am glad you are pointing out their motives of promoting school vouchers or legalized segregation, whatever you want to call it. As a public school administrator, I agree there are areas where schools can be more efficient and I am doing my part to make my campus more efficient but the message the state and Mr. Hammond are sending is “We’re sorry kids, education is just not as important this year as it was last year.” Texas is already one the lowest funded states in the US and we are growing 80,000 students per year yet we are in the top ten nationally in many of the state rankings on many of the National Achievement test.

    Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST)

    The purpose of the financial accountability rating system (Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, § 109.1001) is to ensure that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and achieve improved performance in the management of their financial resources. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to manage their financial resources better in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes. The system will also disclose the quality of local management and decision-making processes that impact the allocation of financial resources in Texas public schools.

    Additional information can be found in the TAC §§ 109.1001-1004 and the Texas Education Code (TEC) §§ 39.201-39.204.

  2. Micheal Stidham says:

    Bill Hammond and TAB are at it again with an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle again today…I am sure this was in response to piece submitted by TCTA President about school finance reform…What is really sad is that Hammond’s only example of school efficeincy is cost to terminate teacher in HISD. Another “red meat” strategy used by charter school and public voucher proponents.