Fair or Falling Short

A Retired Judge Gives Texas Teachers A History Lesson In Funding Education

This series explores one of the fundamental questions in the decades-long debate: Is school funding in Texas fair? Or is it falling short? Judge John Dietz shares his opinion, which may surprise you.

Judge Dietz
District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state’s school finance system was unconstitutional. Photo by: Marjorie Kamys Cotera


In 2014, the Texas school finance system was ruled unconstitutional, yet again. State District Judge John Dietz sided with more than 600 school districts when he issued his decision, saying Texas is failing to provide a basic education to all students.

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In his first major public appearance since the ruling, Dietz addressed the Association of Texas Professional Educators. He spoke about the history of Texas public education and the reasoning behind his ruling.

Listen to the judge’s comments, which were given in Austin in February 2015.



Support for this series was provided by "The Equity Reporting Project: Restoring the Promise of Education," which was developed by Renaissance Journalism with funding from the Ford Foundation.


Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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