Houston Matters

Author Of Report On Texas Children Says State Lawmakers Must Help Families Prosper More

Kristie Tingle, a research analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, highlights the need to reform the school finance system and the importance of the 2020 Census.

The author of a report on the living conditions of Texas children told Houston Matters Thursday that state lawmakers need to strive to pass laws that help families prosper more.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) produced the report. One of its key findings is that one in five Texas children are living in poverty.

CPPP research analyst Kristie Tingle is one of the authors of the report and said their work has shown that “too many kids are seeing differential outcomes based on their race or ethnicity.”

Tingle attributed those inequalities to “past discriminatory policies that created unequal opportunities for families,” but also noted “differences on where we’re investing in our communities right now.”

“We need to make policies that are going to reduce these disparities and, at the same time, make things better for all kids,” Tingle underscored.

Texas Legislature

With that goal in mind, the CPPP will be lobbying state lawmakers during the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature “but it’s also really important,” Tingle pointed out “to engage on these topics in local communities” for instance with local governments.

For the CPPP, remodeling the state’s school finance system must be a top priority for the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature is. “It is just not supporting our students at the level they need to be supported,” said Tingle, while adding that the current system is “just reinforcing the inequities that already exist within our education system.”

The researcher also explained the report emphasizes the need for Texas children to be accurately counted on the 2020 Census. “We know that there’s a high chance that a lot of kids in Texas could be missed,” said Tingle. She added young children are harder to count in general, among other reasons, because they don’t fill out Census forms themselves.

The researcher noted that, if Texas children were undercounted in the 2020 Census, the state could receive less federal funding for programs that are critical for child well-being, such as Head Start, school lunch programs, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). That’s why the CPPP is promoting a statewide complete count committee.

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