Texas Faces the Future Distinguished Lecture 2015
The Texas Center for Education Policy at the University of Texas has an annual Texas Faces the Future Distinguished Lecture. This year, it was delivered by the Honorable Judge John K. Dietz. His lecture outlined the constitutional standards of adequacy, suitability, efficiency, and de facto statewide ad valorem property taxation contained in Article VII and Article VIII of the Texas Constitution. The historical usages of the language of the Constitutional provisions are reviewed, alongside the Constitutional debates of 1875. Three statistical charts of present day school finances are examined as a snapshot of the state of Texas school financing.
Commentary from Intercultural Development Research Association National Director of Policy David Hinojosa was followed with a public discussion that I moderated. His was a stirring call to equitable school finance in the state of Texas that fell on fertile ears with some students wanting to invest in getting to know the intricacies in policies and politics.
Judge Dietz impressed upon the audience that the current state of Texas' highly inequitable school finance is not only a marked departure from a prior history that prioritized more equitable school finance policies, but also a negation of an earlier widely-accepted premise that well-funded schools are important to our democracy—and without which, a threat to democracy abounds. For 2015-16, among other things, TCEP plans on convening graduate students, researchers, and policy makers to bring added, evidence-based focus to school finance in our state.
Link here to an August 28, 2014 judicial brief by Judge Dietz that found Texas' school finance system unconstitutional. We were immensely honored to have had Judge Dietz as TCEP's 2015 Texas Faces the Future Distinguished Lecture.
A gallery of photos appears below.