Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino-Majority Texas School System Faces Funding Challenge

The Texas Tribune reports that the Lone Star State reached two milestones in 2011–public school students became majority Latino, and the state did not fund enrollment growth in schools.

Amidst a massive demographic shift, the schools face more challenges than ever before on a tight budget. Latino children in Texas are more likely to come from poor backgrounds than other children, requiring more investment in educating them.

Texas legislators cut more than $5 billion in public education financing to balance the state budget last year, the Tribune added. Many school districts resorted to teacher layoffs, resulting in increased class sizes.

The Texas State Teachers Association called the growing class sizes “a serious erosion of educational quality standards,” reported The Dallas Morning News.

Former state demographer Steve Murdock has warned state leaders for years that educational outcomes for Latino children must improve for Texas to have a strong economic future. Gaps in achievement between white and Latino students are narrowing–but not by enough, he says.

“It says I need to run fairly quickly from here to the finish line or maybe I won’t get to the finish line,” Murdock told the Tribune.