Chapter 12. Public Policy in Texas

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1 Public Policy in Texas Chapter 12 Public Policy in Texas The Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act required Texas school districts to protect religious speech on campus, allowing students to express their faith in public. These students at Grapevine High School sang along with a Christian band at an event organized by the Christian organization Students Standing Strong. 1

2 Education Policy in Texas Debate over Texas public education extends back to period when Texas was part of Mexico. Republic of Texas Constitution requires public education system; legislature adopts one 1854 Constitution of 1876 established the Permanent School Fund, specifies funding guidelines. Public education policy was left to local school districts until the 1940s State legislature attempted to address problems associated with public school funding and facilities. Education Policy in Texas State Board of Education 15 members, 4-year terms Oversees the Permanent School Fund Executes the education budget Nominates commissioner of education Purchases textbooks and shapes what is in them Curriculum, content, and materials covered in books reflects what the SBOE wants Texas is a huge market for companies selling textbooks and testing services Sets education standards for students and schools 2

3 Education Policy in Texas Three issues have shaped Texas public educational policy over the last fifty years: 1. Desegregation 2. Equity in public school funding 3. Search for educational excellence How to measure and demonstrate High stakes testing Education Policy in Texas: Segregation Texas Constitution called for segregation Black students had fewer school days, One-third less funding than white students State legislature passed a resolution in 1957 opposing Brown v. Board (1954) decision desegregating public schools. Many districts are still de facto segregated by residence patterns 3

4 Education Policy in Texas: Funding San Antonio ISD v. Rodriguez landmark case addressed equity in public school funding 1971, Texas school finance system ruled unconstitutional Violated 14 th Amendment equal protection clause. Overturned on appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court. Education Policy in Texas: Funding Edgewood ISD v. Kirby (1989) State Supreme Court declares existing funding system in violation of state constitution Funding public school districts with local property taxes violated Texas equal protection and efficient systems clauses Vast differences in property values from one school district to another produced an unequal system of school funding 4

5 Education Policy in Texas: Funding Robin Hood funding system emerged as a result of the Edgewood decision Property wealthy districts share their local tax revenue with poor districts Wealthy districts pay wealth equalization share of their local property taxes back to the state The state redistributes funds to poor districts Poor districts retain their local property tax dollars and receive additional funds the state collects from the wealthy districts Education Policy in Texas: Funding Robin Hood system remains in place today Texas has 1,265 school districts As of September 2012, 374 districts designated by state as property wealthy First year of program, only 35 in that category 5

6 Education Policy in Texas: Educational Excellence Education Reform in 1980s Select Committee on Public Education (SCOPE) Made 140 recommendations Centralized state control over education Education Reform in 1990s Students in low-performing schools have some ability to move out of them Gov. Bush lead effort, foundations of NCLB Education Policy in Texas: Educational Excellence Twenty years after reforms, mixed results Dropout rates declined Controversy remains about how these data are derived Scores on standardized tests rose Controversy remains about curriculum and daily classroom effort driven by state testing 2011 state legislature budget cuts to education may jeopardize many of the reform initiatives of the previous 20 years. 6

7 Welfare Policy in Texas Poverty in Texas 18% of Texans (over 4 million) in poverty (2011) Compared to 15% national average Federal Poverty Guidelines 2012 Income of $11,170 for an individual + $3,960 for each additional household member This means individuals earning $935/month are not, by legal definition poor. 58% of poor households are employed Welfare Policy In 2012, 3.6 million Texans participated in the food stamps program (now called SNAP), which allows low-income people to buy groceries with a special debit card. SNAP benefits are paid by the federal government, but the state and federal governments share administrative costs. 7

8 Welfare Policy Most major state welfare programs are cooperative using federal matching funds Medicaid: medical care for the poor TANF: welfare income assistance, medial and social services Public Housing & Section 7 vouchers School meals and SNAP (Lone Star Card) Welfare Policy Temporary Aid to Needy Families Temporary: limited to 36 months (3 years) Not more than 5 years over a lifetime Aid Types: Income, child care, social services Often vouchers or direct agreements with providers, less direct cash payments since Clinton Era Welfare Reforms Needy: Must be near poverty Families: Must be children in household Adults must be caring for young children, working or in school/job training 8

9 Medicaid and Health Care Policy Medicaid: health insurance for poor, disabled, or otherwise needing financial assistance Evidence required demonstrating disability or inability to pay for private health insurance Joint state-federal program established under the Social Security Amendments of 1965 Requires Texas (all states) follow certain principles and meet set standards to receive federal funds. Not to be confused with Medicare, a federal contribution health care program for the elderly. Texas Medicaid Recipients by Age and Ethnicity 9

10 Distribution of Medicaid Spending by Service in Texas Distribution of Medicaid Payments by Enrollment Group in Texas 10

11 Medicaid and Health Care Policy Medicaid began as narrowly defined targeting people on public assistance Today Medicaid is large, complex insurance program serving many identified groups including: adults not fully covered by Medicare people with disabilities individuals receiving TANF and SSI Impoverished children Medicaid and Health Care Policy Texas administers Medicaid through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission The federal government monitors the state Medicaid program The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in the Department of Health and Human Services Establish what constitutes basic services, and set delivery, quality, funding, and eligibility standards. 11

12 ACA and Texas Health Care Policy In 2010, Congress passed two bills known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as Obamacare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act The Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010 Two key provisions for states to implement State Health Care Exchanges Expand Medicare Medicaid and Health Care Policy State Health benefit Exchanges Assist in accessing affordable health insurance Texas (among other states) has indicated the state will not establish a state health exchange The federal government will run exchanges in states that choose not to set up their own system 12

13 Medicaid and Health Care Policy Governor Perry also rejects expanding Medicaid provision of ACH Opposes expanding government and the state absorbing more program responsibilities The Texas Legislature and/or future Texas government administrations may compromise on the exchanges and Medicaid provisions Rejecting Medicaid means Texas does not receive millions in federal dollars Water Policy Access to water is necessary for a thriving economy and expanding population Texas s water consumption projected to increase by 82% in next 50 years. A statewide water policy is difficult because of the diverse climates within the state Floods and droughts simultaneously occur in Texas 13

14 WHO ARE TEXANS? State Taxes (as a percentage of gross state product) 6.3% 12.2% Sixth lowest state taxes 7.9% SOURCE: The Tax Foundation, State and Local Tax Borders: All States, One Year, , WHO ARE TEXANS? Percent Uninsured 5.6% 24.6% Highest % uninsured 24.6% SOURCE: The American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. Health Insurance Coverage Status by State for All People; (accessed 12/13/12). 14

15 WHO ARE TEXANS? State Taxation Compared to Percent Uninsured TAXES UNISURED TAXES UNISURED TAXES UNISURED AK 6.3% 18.0% VA 9.1% 14.1% NC 9.8% 17.0% NV 7.5% 21.3% GA 9.1% 19.4% NE 9.8% 13.3% SD 7.6% 13.0% FL 9.2% 20.8% AR 9.9% 18.7% TN 7.6% 14.7% KY 9.3% 14.9% IL 10.0% 14.8% WY 7.8% 17.3% WA 9.3% 13.8% MD 10.0% 13.1% TX 7.9% 24.6% ID 9.4% 19.2% MA 10.0% 5.6% NH 8.0% 10.3% WV 9.4% 13.5% PA 10.1% 11.0% SC 8.1% 20.6% ND 9.5% 13.1% ME 10.1% 9.4% LA 8.2% 20.0% IN 9.5% 13.4% VT 10.2% 9.5% NM 8.4% 21.6% IA 9.5% 12.3% MN 10.3% 9.8% AL 8.5% 15.4% DE 9.6% 11.3% CA 10.6% 19.4% CO 8.6% 13.0% HI 9.6% 7.7% RI 10.7% 11.4% AZ 8.7% 19.1% MI 9.7% 13.0% WI 11% 9.4% OK 8.7% 17.0% UT 9.7% 13.6% CT 12.0% 11.0% MT 8.7% 18.1% KS 9.7% 12.7% NY 12.1% 15.0% MS 8.7% 21.1% OH 9.7% 13.7% NJ 12.2% 15.4% MO 9.0% 14.0% OR 9.8% 16.2% SOURCE: The American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. Health Insurance Coverage Status by State for All People; (accessed 12/13/12). Water Usage by Sector 15

16 Water Policy Private property rights make Texas water policy even more complicated. Spanish law, traditional English common law, and statutory law Texas law recognizes several legal classes of water rights governed by different rules For example: laws governing surface water and ground water, for example, sharply differ. Water Policy The Texas Water Development Board Primary water planning and financing state agency Several more local and state government agencies and boards oversee water policy and planning Drainage districts Conservation and reclamation districts River authorities Water and control improvement districts 16

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