AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation's General Counsel Robert Henneke, Center for Education Freedom Director Kent Grusendorf, and Policy Analyst Michael Barba today responded to the Texas Supreme Court ruling on Texas school finance.
The Honorable Robert Henneke, General Counsel and Director of the Center for the American Future, said:
“The Texas Supreme Court’s description of the Texas public education system as an ‘ossified regime ill-suited for 21st century Texas’ is a harsh rebuke of the status quo. While the Court found that the current system meets minimal constitutional standards, today’s opinion is hardly a resounding endorsement of public education today. Significantly, the Court rejected the argument of increased funding as a benchmark of ‘adequacy.’ Instead, the Court held that ‘outputs matter.’ Outputs do matter in terms of the quality of education, and now the burden and scrutiny shifts to the Texas legislature to reform public education to focus on school children, not school districts. Texas schoolchildren deserve more than merely adequate; they deserve a system of education that prepares them for the challenges ahead.”
The Honorable Kent Grusendorf, Director of the Center for Education Freedom, said:
“The Texas Supreme Court issued a conservative ruling overall today. They also strongly suggested that the legislature should enact top to bottom reforms including educational choice. We look forward to working with the legislature to enact the kinds of ‘top to bottom’ reforms the court suggested should be considered for a ‘21st century’ education system.”
Michael Barba, Policy Analyst at the Center for Education Freedom, said:
"The Texas Supreme Court's ruling today will be disappointing for every party which challenged the system, but it is a victory for our very system of government. Against the hopes of school districts, the court does not now require that state legislators spend more on public education. It sharply rebuked the lower court by frankly calling its ruling on the topic of adequate finding ‘wrong.’ On the other hand, the court never praised Texas' school finance system. It ruled that, while the system is labyrinthine and is held up by band-aid atop of band-aid, it meets the minimum constitutional requirements. In our system of government, these requirements are the limit of judicial power. The Texas Supreme Court justices respect this separation of powers, and rightly note that the task of establishing the best education system for our children falls to legislators."
The Honorable Robert Henneke is General Counsel and Director of the Center for the American Future at TPPF.
The Honorable Kent Grusendorf, Director of the Center for Education Freedom, represented Arlington in the Texas Legislature for twenty years, focusing on education. Serving on the House Public Education Committee and various Select Committees, he played a significant role in crafting legislative responses to the Edgewood I, Edgewood II, Edgewood III, Edgewood IV, and West Orange Cove school-finance court decisions.
Michael Barba is a Scholar at the Center for Education Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, Texas.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.