Report Examines The Effects Of Texas Public Education Cuts

Left to right: Sarah Goff, research coordinator, Children at Risk; Mike Espinoza, Houston city director, Stand for Children; Juliette Stipeche, HISD School Board trustee; and Dr. Bob Sanborn, President & CEO, Children at Risk
Texas lawmakers are hearing how public schools are coping with the $5.4 billion dollar state budget cut during the last legislative session. Comprehensive information on how the cuts affected school districts and the impact on students was lacking — until now.

A coalition of nonprofits, led by the Houston-based advocacy group Children at Risk, conducted a comprehensive research study to provide an objective assessment of the impact on state funding cuts.

Juliet Stipeche with the Houston School Board says the cuts in teaching positions come at a time when enrollment of students from low income families is increasing.

"Nurses were able to give them eye exams and those eye exams, they realized that the children weren't able to read because they needed glasses. And now those schools are without. These are things that, I believe, many people in our community don't realize. With 80.4-percent of HISD students being economically disadvantaged, this is a very, very different environment."

The report found several recurring concerns among educators: like not enough money for remediation, inadequate lesson planning periods and the loss of one-on-one time with students.

"When it comes our children, we need to do everything possible to make sure they have every tool to be successful."

Dr Bob Sanborn is president and CEO of Children at Risk.

"The best tool to make children successful is a good quality education, and we're not doing that always right now. And especially when we cut some of that public funding — it makes it equally difficult for our school districts to be successful."

While he doubts funding cuts for education will be restored, Sanborn says it's important that lawmakers understand that it's their responsibility to make sure that children aren't under-performing economic assets, but part of the state's economic vitality.

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Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...