In A State As Wealthy As Texas, Why Are Teachers Paying For Their Own Supplies?
This astounding economic growth in Texas, reflected also in our state’s nation-leading and record-smashing job creation, is further proof that when given the freedom to succeed, businesses invest and people aspire. That is truly the secret to the Texas model. Together, we are building an even greater Texas of tomorrow.
This "Texas of tomorrow" is our children's inheritance, but are we even preparing them properly to receive it? Texas is the 43rd lowest state in education spending, leaving many Texas teachers buying their classroom supplies. Combined with abysmal pay and poor working conditions, they are leaving the profession in droves.
Funding for Texas schools primarily comes from local school district property taxes, state funds, and national funds. To a much lesser degree, some education funding comes from the Texas lottery, which contributes about 3% of Texas' education budget.
If you live in a district that has high property taxes and plenty of people paying them, the schools should be outstanding, right? Not exactly, as many of those funds will be repurposed into "Robin Hood" funds from wealthy districts into underserved ones. In reality, nearly no one is getting enough of these limited resources. And the people left holding the bag? Teachers.
In a reader poll conducted by the Houston Chronicle, some teachers reported spending as much as $1,000 on classroom supplies, including printer ink, paper and classroom snacks, as well as such basic supplies as pencils and glue sticks for students who did not bring the items from their supply lists.
"But the students should have brought them," you may say. We all know that many families are struggling to buy just food and pay rent with today's astronomical prices. Can we expect every family to also provide dry-erase markers and Clorox wipes?
So what's the solution? Property taxes are already sky-high. Should the State be allocating more funds toward education? I'd say the answer is a pretty clear yes. New alternative modes of funding could be implemented. In the 2020-2021 school year (the latest information I could find) Colorado was able to generate nearly 6 billion dollars in funds from taxes on marijuana. That would be double what Texas gets from the lottery. Other creative solutions could be implemented as well, assuming any of us are educated enough to conceive them.
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