AUSTIN, Texas – A new book published by the Texas Public Policy Foundation explores the issue of public school finance reform from the perspective of twelve ideologically and politically diverse authors.
Putting the Sides Together is a 222-page work introduced and edited by the Foundation’s director of research, Chris Patterson. The book is available for free online at www.TexasPolicy.com.
“This is the most comprehensive primer on Texas school finance yet published,” said Mrs. Patterson. “After reading this, Texans will have a solid understanding not only of the issues surrounding school finance, but the wide, diverse set of options available for solving it. The importance of school finance reform – for public education, taxation, and the state economy – dictates that Texans engage in a measured and thoughtful debate in which all voices are heard.”
In her introduction, Patterson notes that despite the vastly different ideas being expressed in the debate “there is broad commitment for school finance reform evident among legislators, and even interest in using the finance system as a vehicle to introduce fundamental changes in public education.”
“Texas’ next school finance system must address numerous, wide-ranging concerns about public education and satisfy diverse interests,” writes Patterson. But from her perspective, the answer that addresses a great many concerns is found in a “results-based system.”
“Creating this system will challenge policy leaders to clearly define what public schools should accomplish, and what our taxes should fund.”
Spanning the political, ideological and economic spectrums, and with ideas running from restructuring the system of education delivery to the implementation of an income tax, the authors include: – Catherine Clark, Ph.D., of the Texas Association of School Boards – Eric Hanushek, Ph.D., of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University – David Hartman of the Lone Star Foundation – Caroline M. Hoxby, Ph.D., of Harvard University (and member of the House Select Committee on Public School Finance) – Harrison Keller, Ph.D., of the Office of House Speaker Tom Craddick – Dick Lavine, J.D., of the Center for Public Policy Priorities – John Merrifield, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at San Antonio – William Peacock, M.B.A., of ReformTexas.org – Wayne Pierce, Ed.D., of the Equity Center – Lori Taylor, Ph.D., of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University – Richard Vedder, Ph.D., of Ohio University – Ellen Williams, J.D. of the Texas Lobby Group
Patterson concludes her introduction to the book: “School finance reform offers all Texans a tremendous opportunity to improve the quality of public education and the economic vitality of our state for generations to come.”