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School Funding and Houston in the 1860s: Thursday’s Show (September 10, 2015)

Last week, (Tuesday 9/1/15), the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether the way the state funds public schools is constitutional. The case dates back to 2011, when the Texas Legislature cut more than $5 billion from public education in Texas. Some 600 school districts challenged the funding system. A state district court judge […]

Last week, (Tuesday 9/1/15), the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether the way the state funds public schools is constitutional. The case dates back to 2011, when the Texas Legislature cut more than $5 billion from public education in Texas. Some 600 school districts challenged the funding system. A state district court judge agreed in 2013, not long after lawmakers restored a portion of the funding. Now the Texas Supreme Court is considering whether, as State District Judge John Dietz ruled, the system inequitably creates a de facto state property tax and violates state law.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we discuss what was argued before the Texas Supreme Court last week, and what’s at stake, with Kiah Collier, a reporter with the Texas Tribune. 

Then, we hear the thoughts of State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen, the current Chair of the House Committee on Public Education, who withdrew an overhaul to education funding last session, and David Hinojosa, the Intercultural Development Research Association’s National Director of Policy, and the lead litigator in one of the Texas public school lawsuits consolidated into the case heard last week. We spoke with each of them back in May of 2015.

Also this hour: All parents wonder what their children will do when they’re grown — where they’ll live and what kind of life they’ll lead. That includes parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Will they live at home the rest of their lives? Will they work? How independent will they be? We learn about services available in Greater Houston to help developmentally disabled young people transition to life as young adults, as we talk with Kevin Kern from The Center, and Donna Fruge from The Summerhouse Houston.

Plus: If you have a historian’s imagination, if you look around our city and wonder what life was like for its inhabitants decades or centuries before, an upcoming conference presented by the Houston History Alliance might pique your interest. With a theme of “On the Cusp of War: Houston in the 1860s,” the one-day conference encourages all Houstonians to attend, learn and have fun learning about a wide range of topics. We learn about the conference, and what it may tell us about life in the Bayou City back in the 1860s, as we talk with San Jacinto College history professor Eddie Weller.

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