Education Choice & Workforce Task Force
The Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute’s (TCCRI) 2021-2022 Education Choice & Workforce Development Task Force will focus on areas of reform illuminated by the coronavirus pandemic as paramount legislative necessities.
The Texas Legislature has proven its long-term commitment and dedication to public education with sweeping changes to the state’s school finance system that resulted in historic levels of funding. The time has now come to focus on ensuring that the needs of students and parents are met. To that end, the Task Force will look at a variety of reforms that empower students and parents to tailor an educational experience that fits their own needs. That includes education choice, reforms and expansion of digital education, and protection and expansion of the charter school model.
Ensuring that the state’s higher education system is meeting the needs of employers will continue to be a focus of the Task Force. Higher education is a rapidly changing environment and the state’s public institutions must adapt to change with it. The Task Force will study higher education funding, including the work of the commission on community college finance, to assess the needs and obligations of institutions of higher education. The Task Force will explore the current state of higher education, how the ground is shifting, and what policy changes legislators should investigate in order to help facilitate its evolution.
Task Force Topics:
Education Choice: From school closures, limited openings, mask mandates, and school curricula, support for choices in education has never been higher. The Task Force will look to capitalize on this support by discussing and proposing a variety of choice options.
K-12 Testing and Accountability: Building on past work, the Task Force will continue to evaluate the merits of the state’s current testing and accountability system, potential alternatives, and the importance of holding schools accountable for student performance.
Digital Learning: Expand access to digital learning materials, repeal existing restrictions on these materials, and provide for flexibility and growth within these options into the future.
Charter Schools: Public policy experts need to reeducate legislators, stakeholders, and the public on the importance of the state’s charter school system. There is a growing contingency that would like to scale back, rather than expand, charter schools in Texas. They are organized and work to thwart reasonable charter school improvements and reforms. The Task Force must work to counter these efforts.
Review Workforce Programs: Conduct a review of workforce development and preparedness programs at the state level and local levels. Look for unnecessary and duplicative programs. Highlight programs that work better than others. Highlight programs that have strong measures of success.
Funding in Higher Education: Study the levy of property taxes by community college districts, performance-based funding at community colleges, and availability of financial aid to different types of institutions of higher education, including the Texas State Technical College system.