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Situating Texas School Finance Policy in a CRT Framework: How ''Substantially Equal'' Yields Racial Inequity
Enrique Alemán, Jr. Educational Administration Quarterly 2007 43: 525 DOI: 10.1177/0013161X07303276 The online version of this article can be found at: http://eaq.sagepub.com/content/43/5/525 Published by:
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Educational Administration Quarterly Vol. 43, No. 5 (December 2007) 525-558
Situating Texas School Finance Policy in a CRT Framework: How “Substantially Equal” Yields Racial Inequity
Enrique Alemán Jr.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to conduct a critical race policy analysis of Texas school finance policy. This empirical article examines three chapters of the Texas education code (TEC) and identifies the racial effects that the school funding system has on seven majority-Mexican American school districts. Methodology: Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latina/o Critical (LatCrit) theoretical frameworks are employed in this article in which race and property are highlighted as concepts central to the analysis. The methodology allows for a critical perspective on history and the racial effects of policy to be outlined. First, a historical analysis of race and racism, schooling, and politics in Texas contextualizes the debate over school finance equity. Second, an analysis of the effects that the school finance system has on communities of color is completed. Analysis and Findings: An examination of primarily 2002–2003 school finance data, Texas Supreme Court opinions, and TEC indicates that majority-Mexican American school districts are disadvantaged by Texas school finance policy. Whether it is operational, maintenance, or facilities funding, the school finance system institutes inequity. Keywords: Critical Race Theory; policy analysis; school finance; equity
INTRODUCTION On a recent 60 Minutes program, correspondent Leslie Stahl reported on the Texas Top 10% Plan, the state’s college admissions policy that automatically admits students who rank in the 10% of their high school’s graduating class to any of the state’s public institutions of higher education. The plan has come under legislative attack recently as university enrollment has ballooned, limiting the options of certain powerful and elite constituencies and their children. Put plainly, as the number of “automatically” accepted
DOI: 10.1177/0013161X07303276 © 2007 The University Council for Educational Administration
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Educational Administration Quarterly
students has risen, the remaining available slots have dwindled, limiting options for some. Constituents and legislators from majority White, high socioeconomic communities are now lobbying for a legislative revision or repeal of the policy. In her report, Stahl portrayed the plan as an “unfair” policy, which punishes higher achieving students who attend “more rigorous” high schools and rewards students from lesser educational backgrounds. The story centered on two students, one of whom was White, who had attended one of the wealthiest school districts in the state, and was denied admission to a state flagship institution because of the cap on enrollment. The other student, a Mexican American, graduated from one of the poorest public school districts in the state, lived in public housing with her family, and was admitted under the admissions policy. Stahl’s reporting implied that the White student was disadvantaged because she was fortunate enough to attend a high school where Advanced Placement courses were the norm, where fierce student competition resulted in academic rigor, and where students’ expectations were to attend one of the state’s premier universities. What Stahl failed to explore, however, was the long historical practice of disadvantaging communities of color and the institutionalization of inequity within the Texas public school system.1 She provided no historical context for the long struggle to provide fair and equitable funding to the state’s 1,037 school districts (Cardenas, 1997; Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999; San Miguel & Valencia, 1998), and although relative change has occurred, her report lacked an analysis of the racism institutionalized by current Texas school finance policy. Stahl’s report exemplified much of what is wrong with the practice of and the research conducted in traditional educational policy analysis. It lacked a contextual analysis of historically racist practices, ignored the power dynamics that disadvantage communities of color, and failed to insert a critical analysis of the winners and losers of a given policy. Furthermore, the report failed to link the funding inequities in the public school system to academic readiness and access at the higher education level. In this article, I initiate a discussion of how Texas public school finance policy continues to disadvantage both poor communities and students of color. First, I discuss the study of race and racism and outline the major tenets guiding Critical Race Theory
Author’s Note: Please address all correspondence to Enrique Alemán, Jr., University of Utah, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, 1705 E. Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 85112; phone: (801) 585-5097; e-mail: email@example.com.
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Finally. and cite traditional historical narratives in an effort to highlight the tensions and inconsistencies inherent between property and human rights (Crenshaw. Gotanda. describing the advantages of utilizing this framework in analyzing school finance policy. and daily practice.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 527 (CRT). inserting an understanding of Latina/o community struggle. CRITICAL RACE THEORY A CRT perspective situates school funding inequity as a political. highlighting how race and the loss of property formulated the school funding system early in Texas’ history. 2002). and an ahistorical context dominate institutions and systems. and historical process in which the normalization of inequity. It complicates terms like “equity” and “adequacy” and encourages problematizing the effects of funding formulas. I conduct a brief historical analysis of Texas school finance policy. In addition. Culp. social. & Harris. Constitution. They point to the legal system. This section delineates CRT and Latina/o Critical (LatCrit) Theory frameworks that were utilized to conduct the study and complete the analysis. 2011 .com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. Second. and an interrogation of state statute. Taylor (1998) describes CRT research as “a form of oppositional scholarship” which challenges the “experience of Whites as the normative standard and grounds its conceptual framework in the distinctive experiences of people of color” (p.S. 122). CRITICAL RACE EPISTEMOLOGY AND METHOD In this article.sagepub. including the U. social norms. & Thomas. a CRT framework provides critical administrative and policy analysis tools for educational leaders interested in the struggle for social justice. Critical race theorists posit that racism. Peller. 1995. Valdés. These perspectives are not used separately. I employ a critical race epistemology and methodology. White privilege. and oppression of communities of color exists via the institution of a racist school finance system. which allows for analysis of educational policy by contextualizing history. demonstrating how school finance policy institutes a racial hierarchy among the state’s school districts. Parker and Lynn (2002) describe it as a “discourse of liberation” that Downloaded from eaq. rather they are used as complementary frameworks in the analysis of school finance policy and their effects on majority-Mexican American school districts. I provide a policy analysis of three chapters of the Texas education code (TEC). subjugation of marginalized groups.
2001. Whiteness is constructed as the “ultimate property. colorblindness and meritocracy must be challenged. society. does not interrogate a predominant Anglo. 3. LatCrit scholarship provokes liberatory research and promotes self-determination by Latina/os. CRT scholars generally operate under the following central tenets (Crenshaw. ethnic studies. and. discourse. policy. Similar to CRT. and power” (p.sagepub. Espinoza and Harris (1998) challenged LatCrit scholars in their Downloaded from eaq. Delgado & Stefancic. Delgado and Stefancic (2001) describe CRT as a “movement” and a “collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race. racism. 1997). 2011 . CRT challenges dominant education theory. López & Parker. 3). Theorists also contend that LatCrit complements CRT work. It is now utilized by scholars in sociology. 7–8). Racism is endemic and ingrained in U. Parker. objectivity. Haney-López (1998) argues that LatCrit scholarship should avoid the elimination of race discourse or the substitution of ethnicity-centered explanations as a means for understanding Latina/o identity and marginalization. in education. 2). 2. Providing a space for the “voices” of marginalized people to be heard is vital to reform. & Thomas.” Solórzano (1998) adds commitment to social justice and an interdisciplinary perspective to these tenets and notes that in education. 1995. Arguing that “the best way to attack the effects of racism upon Latinos in this country is to establish a distinct Latino Critical Race Theory” (p. Nuñez posited that the current discourse and analysis on race for Latina/os is inadequate.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. By complicating definitions of race and racism. 1998): 1. The civil rights movement and subsequent laws require reinterpretation. Valdés.528 Educational Administration Quarterly “can be used as a methodological tool as well as a greater ontological and epistemological understanding of how race and racism affect education and lives of the racially disenfranchised” (pp. never supplanting it or its central tenets. Gotanda.S. LatCrit Theory Made up of scholars who participated in the formation and growth of CRT. LatCrit was designed as a project to highlight the “racing” of Latina/os in the legal discourse (Trucious-Haynes. Peller. and does not foster cooperation and collaboration with other marginalized groups. racist ideology. women’s studies. and practice. 2001. Concepts of neutrality. 1999). for Latina/os (Nuñez. The theoretical framework has branched out into fields of study outside the original legal studies. and most recently. 2003. 5. 4.
as well as how Chicana activist teachers combat oppression in the public school setting (Revilla. black/brown tensions. Utilizing CRT in Educational Policy Analysis Parker (2003) states that critical race policy analysis seeks to link a historical analysis with educational policies “racialized effects” (p. integrating LatCrit scholarship and their research agendas while promoting social change. . it is critical that LatCrit scholars confront our community’s ambivalence about its group racial identity” (p.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 529 understanding of racial hierarchy and pushed those in the field to accept Latina/o histories. Furthermore. perspectives as epistemologies and ontologies worth understanding. in order to suit its convenience . In her annotated bibliography of works of LatCrit scholarship. Espinoza and Harris (1998) argued for an expansion on the Black–White paradigm that dominates racial discourse. experiences. Researching and examining the issues that affect Chicana/o graduate students (Solórzano & Yosso. In the educational research community. In her listing. 2001. and cultures of Chicana/os in the colleges and universities (Delgado Bernal. scholars have begun to tell the stories of Latina/os in higher and public education. several corresponded generally to central tenets noted by CRT scholars. whereas others were more specific to issues in Latina/o communities. as the first work in LatCrit scholarship for its historical accounting of Latina/os. She pointed to Rodolfo Acuña as the “progenitor” (p. Downloaded from eaq. 2011 . cultures. Trucious-Haynes (2001) stated that “Latina/os must acknowledge and investigate the ways in which the dominant culture defines our group as a Non-White. 2004) are just two examples of how educational researchers have begun to apply LatCrit to the field. among others. 1509) of LatCrit discourse and his book. specifically Chicana/os in the United States and southwest. Occupied America. 2006) and proposing practical applications of CRT and LatCrit to student services staff that serve Latina/o undergraduate students (Villalpando. They included.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. Yosso. storytelling/counterstorytelling and “naming one’s own reality.sagepub. 1511–1515). 3). 2002). Stefancic (1998) organized the literature into 17 themes. Stefancic (1998) stated that the Latina/o critical research has been conducted and written about for many years. 3) as has been done at different points in history.” Latina/o essentialism. . Others have studied the histories. 2004) in an effort to propose critical frameworks from which to analyze research findings. assimilationism and the colonized mind (pp. She was forthright in her assertion that “[A]t a minimum. although it has been ignored or marked as illegitimate by the traditional and positivistic segments of mainstream academia.” (p. 147). White or non-racial group that is outside of the race discourse.
sagepub. 1998. LadsonBillings.530 Educational Administration Quarterly He proposes a framework from which to analyze policy decisions. 2001. Eatman. 1998. Kozol. Completing a critical race policy analysis such as Brady.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. 2011 . Similar to the analysis of higher educational finance completed by Brady. 1982. As argued by Parker (2003) and Young (1999). Valencia. Eatman. Delgado Bernal. 2004. 1991. and school finance (Allsup. 1997. “CRT has not crossed over into the field to any significant extent and is virtually absent in the area of educational policy” (p. 2003. San Miguel. the premise of this article is based on CRT and LatCrit’s central tenets in an effort to tell “the story behind the story” (López. questions the disadvantaging of communities of color. I seek to investigate these effects and the conditions created by Texas school finance policy on majority-Mexican American school districts. 154). Solórzano & Delgado Bernal. 2003). Ladson-Billings & Tate. Cardenas. scrutinizing them and the conditions they create for students of color. Donato. Downloaded from eaq. 1997. and problematizes the effects of “equity” statute. Valenzuela. Therefore. López & Parker. Tate. 1997). Aside from some notable exceptions. challenges the notion that school finance equity was achieved through recent litigation. 2002. & Parker (2000) and the critique of human capital theory in educational finance conducted by Alemán ( 2007). 2003. bilingual education. 2002. 2003. this type of scholarship is lacking in the educational administration/leadership or educational policy fields of study (Brady. 2003. Yosso. Parker & Lynn. questions the neutrality of school funding formulas and law. & Parker. As Parker (2003) has noted. Mexican Americans have historically been disadvantaged in many areas of K-12 education policy—curriculum and instruction. Borrowing Parker’s framework. it deviates from traditional educational policy analysis—which neglects the pervasiveness of racism embedded within policy structures and endorses a rationalist perspective of policymaking—by employing a critical race policy framework. 2002b. Cortez & Montecel. 2002. Parker. and Parker (2000) and arguing for race-conscious education policy as does Moses (2002) gives voice to marginalized communities. As exemplified by the plethora of research. assessment and accountability systems. 2000. It situates the “story” of Texas’ school finance policy in a contextualized critique of a racist historical past. and places a racist funding structure at the heart of inequity and discrimination. Therefore. López. 1997. Eatman. As proffered by Parker (2003). this article further seeks to use CRT to determine how Texas school finance policy institutes inequity by analyzing the “racialized effects” of the Texas system of school funding. 2006). my central argument is that race should be the primary factor used in analyzing educational policy. The rationale for utilizing this methodology is amplified by its potential in achieving an understanding of the intersection of politics. policy. and race and its applicability to educational practice.
and “in general. De León. p. 15) in order for citizenship to be granted.sagepub. 39).com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. open up trading opportunities. one must first examine the molding of the United States and Texas. 1997. However. the free market economy. the war allowed enterprises to convert Native American land into private property. Spring (1997) explained that the “English belief in their own cultural and racial superiority over Native Americans and. appropriate African American labor. create a dual-wage system of labor. and Anglo domination. later. develop business and industry. these beliefs provided the underpinning for the elimination and subjugation of non-Anglo groups of people. San Miguel. As stated by Takaki (2000). BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POLITICS OF TEXAS SCHOOL FUNDING To understand why the Texas school finance system exists in its current form. 1997). 2011 . and be “white” (Takaki. 1988.S. puritan work ethic (Spring. Spring. race and racism played a central role in the formation of the United States. This belief system. Kramnick (1987) noted that the primary concern raised by newly “liberated” property owners was whether the central government would have power over the states. which evoked the most outrage” (p. Congress. and instill a republican. 2000). Montejano. exemplified by the enactment of the Naturalization Law of 1790 by the First U. residency. 25) among the White ruling elite. required that applicants demonstrate 2 years of U. was not born on American soil” (p. 1987. Similar to the “Founding Fathers’” strategy to rid the land of Native American tribes. The central concern of the American political and economic elite was the issue of property rights. He stated that it was concern of states’ rights issues that became “…so threatening to the rights of property. and inculcate a sense of Manifest Destiny (Acuña. 1987. and the roles that property and race played in instituting inequity. Puerto Ricans. Like property. 2000. Texan policymakers implemented efforts to eliminate Mexicans from their land. Mexican Americans.S. show good moral character. For example. Takaki expanded on Franklin’s notion of the Downloaded from eaq. 2000). enslaved Africans. and Asians. as expressed by two of America’s most notable “democratic thinkers”—Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson—Whites were superior and Texas would play a significant role in the Manifest Destiny plans of the United States (Takaki. expand the market” (p.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 531 this article specifically calls for a critique of educational finance policies employing a CRT framework. Takaki. 1998. The war for “independence” against England was a liberating moment for capitalism. 5).
6–7). money and supplies” (Acuña. Although it would not be until 1836 that war would be “forced upon” the United States by a struggling. controlled Downloaded from eaq. The Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas (modern day Texas) made provisions for education through land grants and municipal funds in 1827 and 1833. “Jefferson predicted that the Spanish borderlands ‘are ours the first moment war is forced upon us’” (pp. 1996. it is clear that wealthy landowners. 2011 . founding their own schools. and enlisted the assistance of the U. a method soon employed by the newly formed Republic of Texas (Walker & Casey. and resource-stripped nation. land grantees themselves failed to put a high value on education. San Miguel (1987) demonstrated how Mexican parents struggled to educate their children. The state also dedicated its first state funds. educational funding consisted of allotting counties land for generating revenue or space to educate a county’s children. education was also a “rallying cry” of sorts at the onset of Texas–Mexican War. the revolutionaries adroitly argued against this lack of educational opportunity. With both the Republic of Texas Constitution of 1836 and the Texas state constitution of 1845. Whichever the case. 1–2). The revolutionaries used this purported lack of educational opportunity as one of the major themes for inciting revolt. the Mexican Constitution of 1824 did address public education and not unlike its counterpart to the north. enrolling in Catholic schools. Instead. poor. albeit a very small amount.S. Texas “revolutionaries” in 1836 declared that the Mexican government had “failed to establish any public system of education.532 Educational Administration Quarterly “lovely white. 1988. to be used by counties toward the establishment and maintenance of public schools.sagepub. 1988). the vast majority of whom were White males. p. Revolt! Fighting for Education Although many recall the “Remember the Alamo” rallying cry as a seminal moment in Texas history. or sending them to Mexican schools to be educated. However. However. although possessed of almost boundless resources” (Gammel cited in Walker & Casey. the creation of dominant and subordinate classes was imminent once the Texans defeated the Mexican Army with the help of American “men. 11). the newcomers settled the land. whereas Acuña (1988) stated. government in “freeing” Texas land from dictatorial control (Acuña. pp. left the responsibility of education to the states. stirred up anti-Mexican sentiment among Mexican land grantees. established economic ties. Individual communities and families determined local educational funding.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. 1996).” (p. In this case. 13). and fought with Native American tribes for control of local lands (Acuña. Walker and Casey (1996) contended that public interest in establishing and administering public schools was virtually nonexistent. 1988). however.
2011 . p. 2003. 1998. 1987. . Mexican inferiority was further institutionalized within the new state’s political. Menchaca. economic. 2003. and brought several binational agreements on economic relations to closure. 584). Institution of Segregation After the Texas–Mexican War of 1836. Johnson. Mexicans were to be kept in the fields Downloaded from eaq. With the assistance of the Texas Rangers—known by Mexican American citizens as the “diablos Tejanos—the Texan devils” (Johnson.S. With the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848 and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. set the U. on the other had. 1993. The end result . Loss of Property. 1987). Whites began assuming ownership of the land quickly and solidified White domination in the newly formed state. Congress (Montejano. Mexicans were stripped of their land. Spring. Montejano. and economic structures at Texas’ inception (Acuña. the articles were summarily rejected by the U.sagepub. Although Mexican negotiators had debated for two articles that would have granted full citizenship rights to Mexicans living in annexed territories as well as recognized Spanish and Mexican land grants as valid. 2003. White power brokers struggled with. Johnson. 1988. 12) because of their savagery and brutality—a powerful ruling class of White elites secured its place in Texas society. and social structures (Alonzo.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. 311). 177). educational. Menchaca (1993) demonstrates that the treaty “stipulated the rights of inhabitants of the ceded territories (including Indians). 1997). laying the groundwork for the modern debate on school finance equity and local control of property taxes. Economic transformation from a primarily ranching to a farming industry required a steady stream of cheap labor. Montejano. 1988. . small farmers and workers.” but that the “American legislators violated the treaty and refused to extend Mexicans full political rights” (p. p. predicted the “undoing” of America. 1987. Yet as Montejano (1987) noted. He stated: Growers argued that the feared social costs of Mexican immigration could be regulated. there was endless demand for and supply of cheap labor. This elite group of White men formed the state’s school finance system.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 533 the political. “What was to be done with the Mexican?” (p. 1987). enabling White cattle ranchers and farming interests to take control of the Texas economic and political system (Acuña. Because of the state’s proximity to the border and the depressed nature of the northern Mexican economy. Mexican and Mexican American communities continued to comprise the majority of the population but held little or no institutional power. Establishing authority over the now displaced Mexican citizenry. San Miguel.S.-Mexico border.
sagepub. farmers and local citizens found it necessary to get Mexican American children “off the streets” (p. districts continued to generate school operational and maintenance funds primarily through local property taxes. 2003). 52). The state system was “unequalized” and the varied property values across the state resulted in wide disparities in local school funding. a U. 179) However. San Miguel. in the off-season when crops were not ready to be harvested. The proper place for Mexicans in modern Texas was that of farm laborers.534 Educational Administration Quarterly and out of industry.S. were “wanted” in schools (Cardenas. 1991. Hobby & Walker. Policy Reform Through the Courts From the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to 1949. 1999. Rodriguez (1971). 1987. They attended separate schools lacking adequate resources. In 1969. 193). District Court declared the Texas school finance system unconstitutional. the legislature failed to act. 1996). It took a group of parents and leading civil rights groups to initiate change through the courts (Cardenas. housed in antiquated facilities and staffed by an untrained faculty (Montejano. The court held that the state’s method of relying heavily on local property wealth discriminated against children living in poor school districts (Cardenas. 2011 . case of school finance equity to be Downloaded from eaq. 1996). the case was “unique in that it is the first. The negative impact on majority-Mexican American schools was most egregious. 1997). The first major reform since the annexation of the state—the Gilmer-Aiken Act of 1949—provided an infusion of state funding and consolidated inefficient school districts. It was not until the state instituted funding formulas that generated state monies based on attendance that Mexican American and other students of color. Compulsory laws were either enforced or ignored based on the seasonal needs of farmers. and only. Many White administrators justified their racism by citing district financial distress. 1997). In other words. Even after several governorappointed statewide commissions recommended a massive infusion of state funds and a restructuring of the system to include a method for “equalizing”2 funding. Walker & Casey. primarily African Americans.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. 1997. but it did not fundamentally alter the way Texas schools were funded (Walker & Casey. (p. the state of Texas school finance did not change significantly. Farr & Trachtenberg. Wilson. As noted by Valencia (2002a).3 In the landmark San Antonio Independent School District vs. a San Antonio-based parent group from one of the poorest districts in the state filed suit against a wealthier local school district. San Miguel (1987) noted. 1987. “They [White administrators] argued that the increase of Mexican enrollment would financially burden the school budget” (p. Spring. 1997.
lead attorney for MALDEF.S. 1999. yet they did not agree with the arguments presented by Edgewood ISD and MALDEF.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. In Farr and Trachtenberg’s (1999) interviews with Craig Foster. 1988. Citing political concerns. The state constitutional case that provided the impetus for shifting from unequalized local enrichment to an equalized system of finance was Edgewood ISD vs. and reiterated that education was not a fundamental right protected under the U. appellate. Kirby (1989). and poor school districts. referred the case back to the state. . Edgewood ISD leadership.e. Rather. along with other majority-Mexican American school districts. Once again.4 Although the original Edgewood case went to trial in January 1987. Foster stated: The reason for [bringing in the plaintiff-intervenors. Farr & Trachtenberg. spanning 8 years before district. and the Texas Supreme Court (Cardenas. When heard on appeal. but provided an alternate argument to the court.5 and directors of the newly formed Equity Center6 provided leadership on legal and political fronts (Farr & Trachtenberg. reasons for the abandonment of the equal protection argument were provided. allocating inadequate additional funds and refusing to restructure the school finance system. rural. It is best Downloaded from eaq. litigation tactics were employed to force legislative action (Farr & Trachtenberg. Priest] and everybody that had ever done a school-finance lawsuit said that you don’t really get anything out of that if you have an inequitable system . As a result. constitution (Valencia. the Texas legislature failed to address the evident school finance inequities in legislative session from 1973 to 1983. 1999. Walker & Moak. More specifically. 1999). 19–20). advocated a race-based argument. the court overturned the lower court decision. head of the Equity Center. Walker. 643). the state constitutional cases were adjudicated multiple times. Districts represented by the Equity Center consisted of majorityWhite. Hobby & Walker. The original Edgewood plaintiffs. the Equity Center group] was that MALDEF was unwilling to give up the ethnic component even though David Long from California [attorney in Serrano v. and Al Kauffman. 1988). 1997. no one in the legislature would support them. 2011 . 1991). . Equity Center supporters preferred a wealth-based discrimination legal argument. Foster found that if the struggle for school finance reform were made into a “Mexican-American issue” (p.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 535 adjudicated before the United States Supreme Court” (pp. they dealt with the issue piecemeal.sagepub. The threat of litigation notwithstanding. Lobbying efforts and civil rights protests failed to budge the legislature. i. the Equity Center school districts joined the struggle against the state system as plaintiffintervenors. 2002b). However. attorneys from the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund (MALDEF). MALDEF and Equity Center leadership utilized disparate legal strategies.
Yudof. and litigation. What follows is an analysis of the racialized effects that three chapters of the TEC have on majority-Mexican American schools. the Texas Supreme Court once again declared the Texas school finance system unconstitutional.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.536 Educational Administration Quarterly to just go with inequity for everybody and not try to make it an ethnic or racial thing. 1988. 643–644) Kauffman. Texas school finance policy evolved into a more subtle brand of institutional racism and inequity. “The State’s only victory came at the expense of Kauffman’s race-based equal protection claim. In June 1987 the district judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. a new era of school finance inequity was mandated by Texas educational statute. . advocates were able to secure additional funding for their communities and students. frustrated by the Supreme Court’s reluctance to accept an equal protection claim. 1991). he concurred with Foster’s warning about legislative resistance to an equal protection claim yet was cognizant of the racial reality. . 1999 p. Walker. the plaintiffs were victorious” (p. Whereas the early years of Texas schooling denied Mexican and Mexican American students the opportunities to attend integrated and betterfunded schools. However. 2011 . On every other point. In his interview with the authors. planned on using the equal protection argument as was used in federal voting rights cases. “To this day.sagepub. 1991. 633). Farr and Trachtenberg (1999) stated. political action. however. finally resulting in the adjudication of the last Edgewood case in 1995. Kauffman stated. and that education was a fundamental right protected by the state constitution. After more than 25 years of grassroots struggle. finding that the state’s finance system was unconstitutional and inefficient. 643). Gone were the days of a blatant and overtly racist system that provided virtually no state assistance to districts in poor property value areas and permitted wealthy property value districts to benefit unchecked. the Texas Supreme Court focused on the “wealth-based” efficiency provision and ordered the Texas Legislature to create a constitutional system by May 1990 (Hobby & Walker. the state funding Downloaded from eaq. . Five more years of litigation and legislative proposals ensued. As had the lower court. (pp. The main reason this [type of system] was allowed to go on was discrimination against Mexican-Americans” (Farr & Trachtenberg. After the state appealed and won in appellate court. I still feel there was discrimination. THE RACIALIZED POLICY EFFECTS OF TEXAS SCHOOL FINANCE Even after intense political action and mandated court remedies brought about substantial changes to the Texas school finance system.
The educational statute. because they were among the poorest of the poor school districts in the state. the seven majority-Mexican American districts analyzed in this article were specifically chosen because they were led by the participants of the larger study at the time of their participation. 41. In 2002–2003. In this section of the article. I analyze three chapters of the TEC and interrogate their racial effects on seven majority-Mexican American school districts. and 46. 2011 . The most vulnerable districts maximized local tax rates and awaited legislative appropriations to fund their academic programs.8 some of the analyses were conducted from a regional perspective that encompassed members of this organization. §42.sagepub. Therefore. 2001). most of which are among the poorest of the poor school districts in Texas. potentially most damaging to school districts over reliant on state funding for operational expenses.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.2 million schoolchildren attended Texas public schools in which the majority were Latina/o. Because the districts were also members of the South Texas Association of Schools (STAS). Provisions outlined in the Texas School Law Bulletin7 delineate how funding formulas consider property value. provide the broad structure for school district revenue generation. Although statewide and regional data provide an overview of the enormity of the Texas school finance system.9 White students Downloaded from eaq. forced property-poor. As stated in TEC. and state funding (Texas Education Agency. majority-Mexican school districts (Clark.251 (b) (4). specifically chapters 42. the majority of these analyses focus on how these three chapters affected the seven participant school districts. the legislature required that a district’s academic program be financed “in an amount sufficient to finance the cost” of the district’s basic academic program (Texas Education Agency. and tax effort in determining state aid.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 537 structure continued to utilize the property value of a local district as the primary factor in generating state funds—a variable that disproportionately disadvantaged poor. I provide an illustration of statewide and regional data before outlining district-level student enrollment and total revenue data. Historical data up to the 2002–2003 school year gathered from the Texas Education Agency’s Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) were analyzed. approximately 4. The superintendents and districts were selected because of their majority-Mexican American student enrollments. 1996). 2001. student counts. majority-Mexican American school districts to trust the historically reluctant legislature to provide “sufficient” funding. These data are from a larger study of Mexican American school district leadership and their political discourse of school finance equity. This provision. and because the superintendents were politically active in the struggle for school finance equity. 2001). To begin. distribution. Walker & Casey.
The seven districts generated $750. 76. TEC chapter 42 provides equalized funding for a “basic” academic program through Tier I state aid formulas and for an “enrichment” program funded by Tier II state aid formulas. for example. Finally. This stark illustration of the fragility in which most and specifically these STAS districts operate highlights the vital nature of state appropriations for the funding of their schools.7% of the state’s student population. respectively. an examination of TEC Chapter 42 indicates how a reliance on property value severely disadvantaged these seven STAS school districts. The only district not located on the border. 91% and 79%. that higher property wealth requires local funding to generate more funding than state resources Downloaded from eaq.8% of which were classified as Limited-English Proficient (LEP) in school year 2002–2003 (see Table 1). As outlined in educational statute. The seven participating school districts educated a combined 112. maintenance.000 Texas schoolchildren or approximately 9.300 students. Latina/o student population in STAS districts accounted for one fifth or 21% of the state’s total Latina/o student population. Regionally. The STAS schools were overwhelmingly Latina/o and economically disadvantaged. The student demographics were more pronounced when factoring in the skewing effect that the Karankawa ISD10 had on the total percentage of Latina/o and economically disadvantaged.9% of which was provided by state aid. and debt service was approximately $29. 2011 . Only 28. The majority of revenue for schools—almost 52%—was generated at the local level.6% of which were economically disadvantaged and 30.9% of all funds were raised locally. the 59 members of the STAS served over 403. whereas state appropriations provided the next largest portion— approximately 40%—of local district budgets.6% of STAS student populations were White and an infinitesimal 0. Total revenue generated for district operations.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.538 Educational Administration Quarterly comprised the next largest racial group and African Americans were the third largest group of students. Only 7. meaning. Furthermore. representing approximately 10% of total revenue statewide. 73. districts account for total operating costs from a combination of local taxes and state aid. the STAS member districts generated total revenue of $2.7 billion.99% were African American. A Continued Reliance on Property Combined with historically limited state appropriations for equalized funding.4 billion. Tier I state and local allotments are determined by a district’s property value and tax effort.7 million in total revenue in 2002–2003. it consisted of a more diverse student population and was the largest district in the study.sagepub.
7 98.5 47 18.934 25.2 0. Of the 50 wealthiest school districts.5 8. The data further amplify how the seven participant districts.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 1 Student Demographic Data for Study Participants % Limited English Proficient 12.1 1.1 71. Of the seven participant districts. that 76% or 38 of the 50 poorest school districts were majority Latina/o. Forty-two percent or 21of the 50 poorest school districts were located in the Rio Grande Valley region and were STAS members.9 % White 4.102 10.1 2.691 30.8 NOTE: Data for this table was compiled from the 2002–2003 Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System database. Tier II finance formulas generate funds beyond the cost of the regular academic program in a similar manner to Tier I funding formulas. they are not the primary variables in determining revenue.9 97 96. A district’s property value plays a prominent role in state aid generation (Walker & Casey.268 % Economically Disadvantaged 82.655 1. (Texas Education Agency. Prior to investigating how the policy’s overreliance on property value is more disadvantageous for those districts dependent on state funding for the majority of their operational and maintenance expenses. Table 2 shows.7 91. four were among the state’s 50 poorest (see Appendix A.3 3.4 52. fare under the school finance system.6 99.186 2.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.1 90 93. 76% of them were majority-White and 35% of them were at least 75% White. The inverse effect occurs for propertypoor school districts. 1996).9 1. by calculating the property wealth per average daily attendance (ADA) for each of the state’s school districts. the following data demonstrate majority-Mexican American school district property wealth.3 37. whereas 48% or 24 of the 50 poorest districts were at least 95% Latina/o.503 39.2 56. property value and tax effort.5 20.7 % Latino 95. 2001).1 98.sagepub. Table A1 for a complete list of the 50 poorest districts). as well as all STAS member districts.2 72.9 82.11 Three majority-Mexican Downloaded from eaq. is consistent with Tier I.1 539 District Algodón Snowbird Oso Azúcar Cuatro Nopalito Karankawa Students 2. based on a guaranteed yield of a district’s weighted average daily attendance (WADA). Although student enrollment and characteristics account for weighted adjustments to funding levels. State aid.1 51. 2011 .
American school districts were on the 50 wealthiest school district list. Texas Education Agency School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division. tremendous inequity existed between districts with high property value and those with low property value. Cuatro and Karankawa ISDs skewed the data because of their ability to raise a higher percentage of total revenue from local sources despite their significant numbers of economically disadvantaged and LEP students. 2011 . almost 64%.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. low student counts. Prior to the Edgewood victories. came from state appropriations. The majority of their total funding. As shown in Table 3. With the Edgewood court victories and Downloaded from eaq.540 Educational Administration Quarterly TABLE 2 Fifty Poorest School Districts as Measured by the Texas School Finance System % Latina/o 50% or more 70% or more 77% or more 95% or more Number of Districts 38 35 29 24 % of 50 Poorest Districts 76 70 58 48 NOTE: Data compiled from 2002–2003. this resulted from their sparse populations. whereas 28.5% of their total revenue was provided by the federal government. gas. for the 59 STAS member districts. Table A2 for a detailed list of the 50 wealthiest districts). the reliance on state aid is even more striking. Analyzing the participant districts. districts capable of taxing themselves minimally were able to raise more funds than those taxing themselves to their limit.sagepub. All generated the majority of their funding from state coffers.12 The seven participants and a majority of the STAS school districts were further disadvantaged by their overreliance on state funding as their primary source of revenue. both are located in economically developing areas of southern Texas with growing tax bases. only 5. Contrary to other districts that generated the majority of their total revenue from state resources. and mineral-rich land and/or portions of oceanfront property not enjoyed by their predominantly-Mexican American communities. Average Daily Attendance (ADA) and Comptroller Property Tax Division (CPTD) data. Despite their apparent property wealth and majority Latina/o student enrollment. their district leadership participated in STAS organizational and political efforts (see Appendix A. The district data on property wealth and their reliance on state funding indicate the tenuous predicament in which the seven majority-Mexican American school districts must operate. however. Under a so-called “unequalized” system of finance.8% was generated at the local level. and high property values because of oil.
3 9. 2001). subsequent legislative enactments. The “substantially equal” provision of the TEC amounts to legalized inequity (Texas Education Agency.6 79. §42. TEC. would codify inequity (Texas Education Agency.8 % Local 11.7 14. a continued reliance on property value as a primary driver in state funding formulas bore racialized effects. the “equalized” amount was set at $271.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 3 Participant District Total Revenue.sagepub. The “Robin Hood” Provisions The main feature of the Texas school finance system is the “recapture” provisions in TEC chapter 41. Yet.9 76.2 1. It states the following: It is the policy of this state that the provision of public education is a state responsibility and that a thorough and efficient system be provided and substantially financed through state revenue sources so that each student enrolled in the public school system shall have access to programs and services that are appropriate to the student’s educational needs and that are substantially equal [emphasis added] to those available to any similar student. although TEC chapter 41 forced property-wealthy school districts to “share” their wealth.001 (a).3 3 2.7 5. 2001).1 57. 2011 . additional state monies became available. 2003). Whereas with TEC chapter 42.1 6 6.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.8 NOTE: Data was compiled from 2002–2003. 2002–2003 Independent School District Algodón Azúcar Cuatro Karankawa Nopalito Oso Snowbird 541 % Federal 7.7 34.7 41.1 82. In 2002–2003.5 2. property-poor districts would be equalized up to the $271. These provisions require property-wealthy Downloaded from eaq. The “substantially equal” level for property-poor school districts was set by the legislature. notwithstanding varying local economic factors.400 wealth per WADA threshold.2 76.3 0.1 10. As is shown in the next section.9 16. eradicating issues of blatant inequity (Cortez & Montecel.8 10. it allowed them to operate with more funding than property-poor school districts. Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System database.4 % Other 2.7 5.5 4.2 1 % State 78.400 per WADA.5 51.
21 43.1% of the student count for the entire state. Districts capable of generating above $271. Twenty school districts accounted for 75.238. the districts remained unaffected by either TEC chapters 41 or 42. Students attending these seven districts totaled 214. or approximately $504 million of the total recapture cost (see Table 4).1 million to the state and property-poor school districts in school year 2002–2003.285 $503. 55% were White.251 $48.sagepub.121.110 $52.624 NOTE: 2002–2003 Chapter 41 district and cost data was collected from the Texas Education Agency School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division.400 wealth per WADA were legally able to have more funding per student.13 According to 2002–2003 school year data.74 32.624 $36.862.542 Educational Administration Quarterly TABLE 4 Districts With the Majority of the 2002–2003 Recapture Cost Independent School District Austin Plano Highland Park Carrollton-Farmers Branch Eanes Richardson Deer Park Cumulative % of Total Recapture 14.55 52. 1999).983.209 $315.389. or 10.4%. Downloaded from eaq.788.000—to “share their wealth” with the state or with other school districts (Farr & Trachtenberg.009.590.52 48.4% of the total recaptured costs and educated only 7% of the statewide student population. Twenty-seven school districts were considered “gap” schools.720. rather.000. school districts—those with a property value per WADA that exceeds $305. Of the total student population attending recaptured schools.599. 2001). were required to “share” their wealth.400 wealth per WADA and the recaptured wealth level of $305.410 $418.339 Cumulative Total $139.38 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Recapture Cost $139. These seven districts combined for 52.661 $467.221.13% of districts.47 26.091 $257.110. The majority of these costs were borne by only seven districts. White students were most affected by the recapture provisions. Because they generated between the guaranteed level of $271.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. 28% Mexican American and 11% African American. meaning they did not generate Tier II funds nor were their local funds recaptured. The 105 recapture districts provided $962. only 105 school districts.000 or 5.091 $51.319 $367.118 $57.972. the TEC Chapter 41 legitimized and codified state-sanctioned inequity (Texas Education Agency.74 38. 2011 .238.091 $117. The “recapture” provisions hardly instituted an “equitable” system as professed by many in the school finance debate.
Downloaded from eaq. which has $2. $48. The additional funding generated for Karankawa. 2001.5 million for its budget.4 million.609 $6. and $2.159 $5. see Table 5).sagepub. The total additional funding for the seven participant districts would have amounted to $234.212 NOTE: Data was compiled from 2002–2003 Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System database.379 $7. $2. The “substantially equal” language in TEC chapter 42.5 million.114 $7.792 $7.026 $6.730 543 Total Funding per Student $8.637 $8.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. The largest discrepancy was exhibited by Cuatro ISD.697 $6. Of the participant districts.538 $7.379 $6. in that they were legally entitled to more funding per student than poorer.4 million.940 $6. $18.147 $7. respectively.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 5 Comparison of Funding per Student in Seven Wealthiest Participant Districts Independent School District Eanes Nopalito Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch Plano Highland Park Richardson Deer Park Algodón Austin Snowbird Oso Azúcar Karankawa Cuatro Total State/Local per Student $8.997 $6.3 million.500 difference in funding per student for each of its 30. Austin and Nopalito ISDs were the lone anomalies because of their high concentration of low socioeconomic-status students (Texas Education Agency. Azúcar. majority-Mexican American school districts. along with chapter 41 Robin Hood provisions advantaged wealthy. Snowbird. chapter 41 districts generated an average of $859 more per student in state and local funding than did participant school districts.7 million.929 $7. Oso.298 $7. The bolded districts are those that had superintendents that participated in this study. whereas Total Funding includes state and federal funding. Of these 14 districts. the district would have generated an additional $78. six of the seven generated less funding per student than did the seven recaptured districts reviewed earlier.600 students.250 $7.738 $7.473 $7. If Cuatro ISD were provided with the $2. 2011 .073 $7. Total State/Local is state aid.981 $7.500 less per student in local and state funding than did Eanes ISD.544 $7.2 million in 2002–2003.984 $8. and Algodón ISDs would have been $83.232 $6.922 $6. majority-White school districts.631 $6.093 $6.
yet they served different types of districts. Utilizing Debt to Re-Enforce Inequity The original Edgewood plaintiffs presented evidence of disparate expenditures in school facilities funding. property-poor districts were not able to initiate construction projects.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. Both the IFA and EDA programs. the Supreme Court admonished the state to consider additional or equalized state funding for facilities. which is why the state created and implemented the IFA program as a method of assisting districts in their repayment of school construction bonds.sagepub. Majority-Mexican American school districts were subsequently at a disadvantage to attain facilities funding. 1999. the state legislature finally appropriated funding for a limited facilities grant program in 1995. Walker & Casey. The IFA program distributed state funding based on property wealth—the wealthier a district. Many school districts typically issue bonds or borrow money to pay for major facilities construction or renovation projects. 2001). the IFA program provides funding for districts to repay bonds used to “construct. Robin Hood has not “stolen” as much money from the rich as is publicly perceived. coexisted since 1999. 1996). By the January 1995 Edgewood IV decision. often referred to as Tier III. As demonstrated by these data. Districts in need of state funding for facilities construction projects were once again at the mercy of the biennial appropriation process as was the case with Tier II funding. As a result. 2001). 2001). 2011 . 2001.544 Educational Administration Quarterly TEC chapter 41 has traditionally contained the school finance system’s most controversial provisions. If Tier III was unavailable or insufficient to meet the demands of rising school enrollment or deteriorating existing facilities. the Existing Debt Allotment (EDA)15 program was created to assist school districts with eligible existing general obligation debt (Clark. Many Texans falsely believe that property-poor school districts generate more total revenue than do the property-wealthy school districts.003 (a). Farr & Trachtenberg. It was the precursor to the better-funded and more-inclusive Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA)14 program that was instituted in September 1997 (Clark. As stipulated in TEC. or improve an instructional facility” (Texas Education Agency. however. The media and public have named it “Robin Hood” because of the perception that the state requires districts to give back “their” money. acquire. Two years later. the less state funding it received and more local funds it was required to raise. renovate. a form of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (Texas Education Agency. §46. The inverse was required for poorer school districts. The EDA program assisted districts similarly. the funding eligibility criteria were set by the definition Downloaded from eaq.
of “eligible debt.70% 20.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 6 Comparison of Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) and Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) Funding for 59 South Texas Association of Schools Districts from 1997–1998 to 2002–2003 Year 2002–2003 2001–2002 2000–2001 1999–2000 1998–1999 1997–1998 IFA Total $74.235 $44.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.069. accounting for approximately 26% of the total IFA funding and only 9% of the total EDA funding.033 (1) as tax-supported debt that “[t]he district made payments on the bonds during the 2000–2001 school year or taxes levied to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds were included in the district’s audited debt service tax collections for that school year” (Texas Education Agency. or relied more significantly on IFA awards for facilities funding. In 2002–2003.state.360 $7. and in 2000–2001.416. eligible EDA debt was defined in TEC. The data includes all state aid data since the inception of both the IFA in 1997–1998 and the Existing Debt Allotment in 1999–2000.530.792.821 $60.275 $68. This “cutoff” date of 2000–2001 forced districts to issue their debt prior to and without the assurance that the state would assist in the repayment of it.447 $44. the first year of EDA funding.finance/facilities/ ifa.9 million in facilities funding. STAS member districts generated a total of $115.851.36% EDA Total $41.640.” In 2002–2003.973. Since 1999–2000.sagepub.371.61 9.24 8. Higher-wealth districts were typically able to take the calculated risk that the state would appropriate EDA funding to meet their obligations.html.385 $46.111. Downloaded from eaq. For example.us/school. www.722 % Total IFA 25.175 $35.tea. choosing to wait for IFA funding opportunities rather than risk issuing debt without the state’s assurance of assistance. The STAS member districts exhibited this phenomenon in that they were more likely to benefit from the IFA program than the EDA program. 2011 .081.62% 27.01% 12. the STAS districts garnered no more than 10% of the total EDA funding.01% 19. District-level facilities funding analysis of the seven participating districts demonstrates how they typically did not benefit from the EDA.02% 27.tx.335 545 % Total EDA 9.09 NOTE: Data compiled is from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division as well as the TEA IFA Web site. reached their highest percentage at almost 28% (see Table 6).18 10. §46. Propertypoor districts delayed construction projects or maintained their deteriorating facilities. 2001). They benefited more from the IFA program.647 $22.
state.tx.04 100.94 24. This equalizes tax collections generated from the districts’ M & O tax rate.html. 2001). subchapters A and B do not require that the districts’ I & S fund tax collections be equalized (Clark. skewing the average percentage of the group of districts. relatively economically stable communities helped to qualify them for this funding. www. However. property-wealthy school districts are not forced to “share” their interest and sinking (I & S) fund tax collections as is required in the maintenance and operations (M & O) or Tier II funding formulas.000 to select one or more of the five options to bring the district “down to an equalized level” as required by the state.finance/facilities/ifa. Because they did not issue “eligible” bonds or were already benefiting from the IFA program for the bonds they did have.sagepub.00 80. In the debt servicing or repayment process.78 19.88 EDA 2003 % 37. 2002–2003 Independent School District Algodón Azúcar Cuatro Karankawa Nopalito Oso Snowbird Average % IFA 2003 % 62. 2011 .06 75. the districts were not able to capitalize on the states funding of EDA.11 100. and Snowbird ISDs were excluded from the EDA program because of the stipulation that they issue debt prior to receiving assurance from the state of assistance. Karankawa and Cuatro ISDs both earned substantial EDA monies. three of the seven districts did not generate any EDA funds in 2002–2003 (see Table 7).89 45.546 Educational Administration Quarterly TABLE 7 Comparison of Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) and Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) Funding for Participant Districts.tea. Their generally higher wealth per ADA status combined with the fact they exist in fast-growth. Azúcar.us/school .96 75.12 NOTE: Data compiled is from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division as well as the TEA IFA Web site.00 54. Chapter 42 provisions “equalize up” to a $271. Therefore. whereas chapter 41 provisions require districts with property value per WADA in excess of $305.00 24.400 wealth per WADA formula.22 100.16 As was stated in the previous subsection. TEC chapter 46. Nopalito. property-wealthy districts are able to issue as much debt and build as many facilities as their Downloaded from eaq. Algodón and Oso ISDs received minimal EDA funding.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.
2011 .17 The bulk of facilities funding has been appropriated in the EDA program.00 $218. since the programs’ existence the state legislature has appropriated more funding for districts qualifying for EDA funding ($1. In the 4 years that the programs have coexisted.731 NOTE: Data compiled is from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division as well as the TEA IFA Web site. but IFA funding is not. and property-poor school district must rely on legislative appropriation for facilities funding. Finally.finance/facilities/ ifa.10 $64. For example. The totals in the IFA Total Funding and Existing Debt Allotment Total Funding are in millions.tea.us/school.html.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.state.028 $541. The state’s facilities programs reinstitute inequity because wealthy school districts generate more funding and have ability to collect I & S tax collections without the requirement of recapture.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 8 Comparison of Per District Funding for Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) and Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) since 1997–1998 Number of Districts 400 370 308 264 220 115 Per District Funding $723. Districts not able to afford debt repayment solely on local tax collections remain disadvantaged.20 $253.570 EDA Total Funding $452. the IFA has never had a higher funding-per-district level than districts in the EDA.tx.50 $175. The state’s two allotment programs are designed to assist school districts with repayment of district-approved debt.1 $539.071 $713.9 billion in 4 years) rather than in the IFA program ($1.0 $444.040 $683. state appropriations for new IFA funding must be approved every biennium as does a change in criteria for “eligible” existing debt.120 Number of Districts 532 570 570 623 547 School Year 2002–2003 2001–2002 2000–2001 1999–2000 1998–1999 1997–1998 IFA Total Funding $289.sagepub. This affects majority-Mexican school districts disproportionately.7 Per District Funding $849.548 $664. Districts must compete for scarce funding every funding cycle. www.745 $946. the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has run out of money every year but the first two (see Table 8). those issuing debt without the assurance of state assistance are more likely to generate more funding from the state. The largest disparity occurred in 2001–2002 when districts awarded in the EDA program earned $262.266 $561.092 $842.39 $119. EDA funding is permanently fixed in the state funding formulas. Downloaded from eaq.9 billion in 6 years).841 $709. however. In the first six cycles of IFA funding.251 more per district than if they were awarded in the IFA. communities are willing to build.3 $480.
as has often been the case in this field. 2006. structural and institutional racism are evident.e. Delgado Bernal. A system based historically on property rights. & Villenas. 1993) and that funding has historically been based on property value. property-poor.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. Solórzano. 2004. Gonzales. CRT provides an ample critical framework that asks the viability of this occurring (Ladson-Billings & Tate.” CRT provides a sound framework from which to question its ability to accomplish this. Chicana/o and Latina/o scholars have. Crowson.. Godinez. & Villenas. 1994. property-wealthy school districts generate more funding. Delgado Bernal.548 Educational Administration Quarterly DISCUSSION By situating this policy analysis in a CRT framework and understanding the history of Texas school finance from a LatCrit perspective. 2001. The neutral language of “substantially equal” only seeks to mask codified inequity. Montejano (1987). 1998. 2011 . Valencia. More specifically. Darder. 1998. applying CRT and LatCrit tenets to policy analysis would provide an alternative to traditional methods of evaluating policy in “unbiased. i. Fowler. for many years. However. Torres. & Geel. This approach argues that educational policy analysis should attempt to explain and describe policy effects in a similar methodological manner. 1999. As shown in these analyses. 1997. 1999. 2003). Pizarro. 2001). Cibulka. Elenes. Villalpando. Despite the fact that many continue to hail the Edgewood state court cases and other legislative reforms as “moving toward equity. Scholars. promoting CRT and LatCrit understandings of educational policy are essential if a new form of educational leadership and study of educational politics and policy within the educational administration field of study are to take root. Valenzuela. studied the plight of Chicana/o and Latina/o students and communities (see. and oppress communities and students of color in much the same way that Menchaca (1993). such Downloaded from eaq. and San Miguel and Valencia (1998) found that the invalidation of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo aided racist institutional and social practices. The analysis of Texas school finance policy in this article is one example how CRT and LatCrit may be applied. Guthrie & Rothstein. Vigil. majority-Mexican American school districts continue to endure a racist school finance system. 1988. & Gutiérrez. Although substantial progress was made in rectifying a more overt system of inequity (via the Edgewood state court cases). Texas school finance policy continues to disadvantage.” or “objective” ways (Boyd. and facilities programs continue to advantage wealthier school districts. 2002b. Texas school finance policy was challenged and problematized as the hallmark civil rights achievement in attempting to achieve equity for the state’s public school children. Acuña. discriminate. Elenes. 1997). Given that property is disadvantaging in nature (Harris. 1994.sagepub.” “scientific.
educational policy is commonly examined from a traditional perspective. Their “interest convergence” principle maintains that reform will not occur unless Whites are benefited. Parker. Stahl neglected what López (2003) has described as the “story behind the story. such as Padilla (1999. Having the ability to understand “racial realism” grounds this research on the pervasiveness of racism in this country while stressing that policies have maintained inequity and racial hierarchy. 2001). ignoring racism and calling for a rational view of the “facts” (Boyd. CONCLUSION Like the Leslie Stahl story. 2011 . 2004). as well as other educational policies. 1994. 1992b. It is a utilization of CRT policy analysis of school finance policy. This article makes an argument for understanding race and racism from a systemic and institutional Downloaded from eaq.” Because this can affect social critique while perpetuating self-hate.” She describes how Latina/o communities have been mislead by members of their own community. 1998). 2006) have also provided analytical concepts capable of evaluating the racist nature of reform. 2000. that will begin to foster change in areas such as student achievement and university access and success.” This story behind the Texas school finance story deviates from convention and refutes traditional analysis.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 549 as Bell (1992a. Similar to many educational leaders and policy makers. overtaken by a “colonized mind. this critical race policy analysis interrogates the racial effects of educational policy (Brady. Cibulka. 2003) and questions how “substantially equal” equity perpetuates racism. & Geel. Eatman.sagepub. The discussion of school finance history exemplified the utilization of LatCrit as a method for providing alternative explanations of inequity and discrimination. Crowson. Fowler. problematizing the Black-White binary that has often overshadowed conversations of racism and other communities of color will result in more productive analysis and coalitionbuilding efforts across communities of color (Stefancic. It employs a CRT framework to center race and racism and provides a LatCrit view of the history of domination and loss of land in Texas’ formative years and in its codification in current policy. Above all. it is critical that Latina/ o-centered understandings of history be made central to combating the often crippling nature of self-hate and self-doubt in Latina/o communities. 1994. 2004) and Delgado (2002.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. Scholars. As the nation moves toward having majority Latina/o “minority” populations. & Parker. LatCrit inserts an analysis of majority-Mexican American school districts in a state that is now majority Mexican American. have called for Latina/os to consider the way by which dominant practices and policies infect the “other. Finally.
8 79 95.4 0. social class.7 0.6 0.5 1.1 94.187 $47.1 98.1 0. This article calls for such action.628 $22.5 11. research. & Parker.471 $27.2 1.5 0.664 $36.103 $52.4 97. Brady.7 0.752 $54.5 0.347 $36.4 98.2 % Hispanic 5.3 0.6 98.5 1 2.2 0. exemplifying the need to deconstruct and contend with the policy assumptions and traditional “American” values that dominate the majoritarian view of the world— demanding that language like “substantially equal” be turned on its head. and inequity while also providing a critical framework from which to conduct social justice analysis in school finance (Alemán.353 $17.928 $56.8 0. 1997.1 4.4 0.3 99.5 2. 2000.1 Downloaded from eaq. 2011 . teach.8 83 92.5 97 98.8 98.6 0. Kozol.7 % Black 1. it serves to emphasize the linkages between race.6 4.5 0.637 $47.4 41. APPENDIX A TABLE A1 Fifty Poorest School Districts as Measured by the Texas School Finance System Wealth per ADA $15.3 0.2 97.3 18.112 $40.958 $44.1 0.054 $55. 2007).6 1.4 19.2 0.1 3.5 0. A need to discuss.420 $50.4 83.6 97. Rodriguez & Rolle.594 Independent School District Boles South Texas San Elizario Edcouch-Elsa Progreso Tornillo Santa Rosa Mercedes Santa Maria Fabens McLeod Edgewood Donna Presidio Robstown Somerset Rio Hondo Clint San Benito Cons Southwest Orange Grove Valley View Poteet Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 % White 88.4 94. 1991).2 1.868 $36.9 2.sagepub. 2007.8 99.711 $57.1 16. Eatman.8 4.977 $27.2 1.7 1.3 7. and lead from alternative perspectives is necessary if social justice goals are ever to be attained.8 97.777 $53.738 $33.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.1 0.9 99.284 $55.834 $49.6 99.841 $51. Like other work in educational research (Anyon.8 0.9 75.930 $39. advocate.1 0.9 57.6 0.550 Educational Administration Quarterly level.
085 $62.167 $64.294 $1.1 1.6 0.1 23.2 1.4 40 69.9 27.1 4.3 89.1 6.7 94.8 54.5 71.027 $64.5 98.3 3 0.605 $68.094 $947.938 $997.5 75.9 Downloaded from eaq.582 $67.720 Crystal City Southside Harlandale Ector La Feria Olfen Rio Grande City CISD Mission Cons Axtell Martinsville Laredo Rice Splendora Roma Natalia Grape Creek Weslaco Hubbard La Pryor Eagle Pass Maud Hawley Central Heights Pharr-San Juan-Alamo La Villa South San Antonio 1.5 0.945 $65.5 87.6 26.5 0.567 $69.9 0.6 60 29.5 0.2 5.7 86.6 6.4 0.2 45.2 98.009.513 $59.1 5.521 $69.4 7.2 2.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 $57.1 4.1 7.302 $62.766 $917.9 0.2 94.495 $64.850 $58.8 99.5 83.164 $61.9 97.6 94.1 0.sagepub.8 99. 2011 . The bolded rows indicate those districts that are located in Region One and Region Two and are members of the South Texas Association of Schools.4 10.4 99.5 73.2 83 %Black 23.5 7. School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division.003.621 $978.4 0.3 92.9 (continued) 0.3 93.1 10.9 %Hispanic 19.3 97. TABLE A2 Fifty Wealthiest School Districts as Measured by the Texas School Finance System Independent School District Tatum Sterling City Divide Austwell-Tivoli Whiteface Cons Hunt Plains Round Top-Carmine Rank 988 989 990 991 992 993 994 995 Wealth per ADA $913.5 1 0.9 5.6 1.8 72.7 551 98 80.7 1.7 5.4 0.1 0.3 10 41.7 0.1 88.2 8.6 0.5 0.670 %White 56.2 1.3 54.1 21.439 $68.729 $57.3 40.470 $60.8 1.2 2.5 99.783 $64.1 5.2 24.9 NOTE: Data is 2002–2003 school year data compiled from the Texas Education Agency.7 0.682 $69.069 $68.615 $62.2 3.366 $68.7 97.836 $57.3 0.2 23.398 $958.242 $69.6 59.3 74.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.779 $1.3 16.808 $67.5 69.742 $66.
sagepub.781 %White 75.924 $1.034.6 38.112.8 9.4 66.7 82.9 95.687 $1.9 2.9 44.103.412.637.6 4 0 29.068.5 47.1 52.259 $1.389 $3.123.1 89.5 60.5 2.244.307.459 $1.5 60.604 $1.508 $2.2 5.215.9 33.9 7.9 11 38.3 99.4 61.515.6 41.711 $1.5 83.463 $1.9 5.2 2.521.5 54.7 72 50.2 88.679 $1.788.909.4 21.1 93.7 33.3 0. School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division.147 $1.2 61.658 $1.3 0.485.3 NOTE: Data is 2002–2003 school year data compiled from the Texas Education Agency.1 100 83.308.165.297.6 57.930.9 0 6.192 $5.1 4 5.1 73.8 3.119.8 71.2 94.023.140.7 2.734. Downloaded from eaq.437 $1.150 $4.096.9 86.1 %Hispanic 9.1 0.8 0.018.935 $1.3 100 64.374.6 50 13 24.4 0.232 $3.5 22 0.319 $1.6 92.3 5.2 2.647 $1.3 78.4 38 96.046.290.592.104.072 $2.617.8 76.253 $1.646 $2.276 $2.8 36.9 0 16.947 $1.169 $2.630.5 %Black 14 5.8 28.4 97.144 $2.023.365.704 $1.com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30.105.2 12.076 $1.619 $4.3 26.052.6 1.729 $1.3 3 0.5 16.168.917 $1.170 $1.3 55.4 50 87 73.8 0.4 89.1 1.2 36.866 $1.2 1.2 64 51.090. The bolded rows indicate those districts that are located in Region One and Region Two and are members of the South Texas Association of Schools.214.2 1.541 $2.4 42. 2011 .105 $1.2 47.1 66.9 49.4 13.351 $1.1 73.9 1.021.110.552 Educational Administration Quarterly Table A2 (continued) Independent School District Beckville Matagorda McCamey Highland Park Pringle-Morse Cons Denver City Crane Dawson San Isidro Port Aransas Seminole Sudan Westbrook Evadale Buena Vista Loop Wink-Loving Sundown Rankin Glen Rose Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips CISD Glasscock County Crockett County Cons CSD Ezzell Iraan-Sheffield Terrell County Boys Ranch McMullen County Palo Pinto Borden County Webb Cons Grandview-Hopkins Guthrie Csd Darrouzett Miami Fort Elliott Cons Kenedy County Wide CSD Jayton-Girard Sabine Pass Allison Kelton Dew Rank 996 997 998 999 1000 1001 1002 1003 1004 1005 1006 1007 1008 1009 1010 1011 1012 1013 1014 1015 1016 1017 1018 1019 1020 1021 1022 1023 1024 1025 1026 1027 1028 1029 1030 1031 1032 1033 1034 1035 1036 1037 Wealth per ADA $1.340.402 $1.5 44.1 4.477 $1.9 20.8 52.849 $1.516 $1.2 1.904 $1.6 36 48.
com at UNIV OF TENNESSEE on June 30. The South Texas Association of Schools consists of 59 school districts. one of the poorest school districts in the state of Texas. vs. Located on the west side of San Antonio. and litigation nonprofit agency serving the Latina/o communities. and attorneys.003.W. 9.Alemán / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 553 NOTES 1. 13. most data and all statutes analyzed come from the 2002–2003 school year. 5. advocacy. This historical background primarily focuses on the first of the Edgewood cases.037). 3. TEC. mostly from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.sagepub. activists. The concept of “substantially equal” will be explored further in a subsequent section of the article. San Antonio ISD (1971) federal case in the late 1960s. Both appendices list the 50 poorest school districts (ranked from 1 to 50) and 50 wealthiest school districts (ranked from 988 to 1. 4. The organization was founded in San Antonio in 1968. 2. which documents the options for “sharing” wealth that exceeds the $305. The Equity Center is a nonprofit organization formed as the technical analysis arm of the plaintiffs’ case. 777 S. The five Downloaded from eaq. 7. District names are pseudonyms. The ranking of the 1. In contrast. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is a leading civil rights. Although the district is majority-White. When the federal case was dismissed. The state categorizes its students under the identifier Hispanic.pdf. property-poor school districts would tax their local community very high and yield low local funds. Prior to the onset of arguments. For purposes of the larger study and the analysis in this article. the districts are among the poorest and consist of majority-Mexican American student enrollments. As is the region. Although most of the students in the seven participating districts are Mexican or Mexican American.2d 391 (1989) was the first of four iterations of state constitutional challenges. poor school districts. For the latest University of Texas report see http://www. they represented the majorityMexican American school districts. there are some students from other Latin American nations.utexas. I use Latina/o interchangeably with Mexican American and Hispanic.000 per weighted average daily attendance (WADA). the plaintiffs (Mexican American parents and advocates) shifted their legal strategy. the southernmost region of the state. The resulting “equalized” system of finance guaranteed districts a “substantially equal” amount of funding for their tax effort. During the Edgewood cases. Prior to the Edgewood court cases. choosing to sue the state rather than the local school district. Percentages of students may not add to 100 because only the three largest student groups were included in the table. the state had virtually operated under an “unequalized” system of finance in which a property-wealthy school districts could tax low and continue to generate substantial local funds. The state constitutional challenges are known as the Edgewood cases. 6. 10. lobbied legislators and organized rural. Edgewood Independent School District et al. The state data does not categorize Latina/os into subgroups. The parents resided in Edgewood Independent School District (ISD).edu/student/admissions/research/HB588-Report7. Boles ISD is ranked the poorest school district in the state of Texas for the 2002–2003 school year. §41. when evaluating the list of poor school districts it is plainly evident that the majority of poor school districts. 12. are majority-Mexican American. 2011 . 8.037 Texas public school districts by wealth was calculated by dividing the districts’ assessed property value by its average daily attendance (ADA). What Stahl also failed to mention were recent data indicating that top 10% students have higher undergraduate GPAs than those non-top 10% admitted students. 11. See Texas School Law Bulletin. and those disadvantaged by the state system of funding. Kirby. a state strategy to contest inequitable funding was led by the same group of parents. parents and community activists from the districts spurred the initial Rodriguez vs.
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