When the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from school coffers in 2011, school districts and other interested parties filed suit claiming that, as a result of the cuts, the state is failing to live up to its constitutional obligation to provide an adequate public education to all students.
After several weeks of arguments, state district Judge John Dietz agreed. In a ruling from the bench in February 2013, Dietz determined that the Texas school finance system is unconstitutional, but he did not make a formal, final ruling.
Since then, the 83rd Texas Legislature restored $3.4 billion of those funds. And during that same session, lawmakers passed legislation greatly reducing the number of end-of-course exams required in high school. Beginning Jan. 21, Dietz will hear from all sides regarding the impact of restoring those funds.
You can expect the state to argue that because testing requirements have been loosened, educational standards have been lowered, and thus the current funding level is adequate. Nothing is further from the truth. If we are to prepare students for college and the workforce, academic rigor must be increased.