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.