AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation highlighted the one-year anniversary of announcing its public education reform agenda and the progress that was made during the Texas Legislature’s 86th session. Five of the Foundation’s six agenda items were adopted in whole or in part and laid the groundwork for additional success during the next legislative session.
“A year ago this month, TPPF put forward six ambitious goals for Texas public education. And on each of those, progress has been made,” said TPPF Executive Director Kevin Roberts. “There’s more work to do, of course. But the foundations have been laid for real, measurable education reform.
“I’d like to especially thank State Rep. Dan Huberty of Humble and State Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood and who were invaluable in keeping efficiency audits in HB3, a transformative policy that will ensure taxpayers are protected. Without their leadership, these important reforms would have never made it to the finish line. Now, precious dollars will go to effective programs that generate real results in the classroom.”
The Texas Legislature made progress on nearly every issue highlighted by the TPPF public education agenda:
Monitoring Reading and Math Outcomes: School boards will be required to monitor student progress on reading and math scores, a key component of House Bill 3.
Incentive Pay: While local school districts still control spending, there’s now funding to allow and encourage pay for effective teachers, which has shown real results through efforts like the Teacher Excellence Initiative.
Improved Civics Education: House Bill 1244 increased a focus on civics education, meaning citizens will gain a clearer understanding of what makes the American experiment in self-governance unique in history.
Property Tax Reform: Though there’s much work to be done, local taxpayers are now shielded from the incessant skyrocketing of school property tax rates. House Bill 3 limits future school tax hikes to 2.5 percent.
Efficiency Audits for Districts: To demonstrate the need for more resources, school districts will have to complete efficiency audits that show they are making the best use of the money they already receive.
“We’re making real progress on education reform,” Roberts added. “With the solid foundations laid in the 86th Legislature, efforts will be even more effective in the 87th. And Texas schoolkids will reap the benefits.”