Making Texas Public Education More Efficient: Taxpayer Savings Grant Program
Testimony by Joseph L. Bast to the Texas Senate Committee on Education
August 24, 2012
Madam Chairman, honorable members of the Senate Committee on Education, and friends and colleagues, it is my honor to be here today to testify on how a particular school reform proposal, called the Taxpayer Savings Grant Program, would enable the state to comply with its constitutional mandate to “establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”
My qualifications to appear here today include:
• I am the founder and publisher of School Reform News, a 15-year-old national public policy newspaper that surveys show is read by 50% of state legislators in the U.S. I have read, edited, and sometimes written myself approximately 200 articles a year, every year, for 15 years, about 3,000 so far.
• I am coauthor of four books with Dr. Herb Walberg, a leading authority on school reform, and editor of two more books by Dr. Walberg, most recently Tests, Testing, and Genuine School Reform (Hoover Institution Press, 2011).
• I have written or coauthored more than a dozen policy studies on various aspects of school reform, including four Texas-specific studies in 2011 specifically relevant to this case.
• My writing on school reform has appeared in five peer-reviewed journals: Phi Delta Kappan, The Cato Journal, The Journal of Private Enterprise, Independent Review, and Economics of Education Review.
• In 2011, I worked with Dr. John Merrifield, an authority on the economics of education in Texas, and other experts to produce reports on the fiscal impact of the Taxpayer Savings Grant Program (TSGP) on the Texas state budget and on teachers.
Parts of my written testimony are taken verbatim from publications I wrote or coauthored, primarily but not exclusively those cited in footnote #2. My testimony today does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Heartland Institute and is not intended to influence the passage of legislation.
In my testimony today I will explain ...
• what is the Taxpayer Savings Grant Program?
• how many students are likely to participate if such a program were available?
• what impact would the program have on the state’s budget?
• how would students and parents benefit?
• how would teachers benefit? and finally,
• how would these impacts combine to improve the overall efficiency of Texas’s system of free public schools?
[Read the full testimony here.]