Today Rudolph Bush responds to criticism he’s heard from some Park Cities residents since last week he argued the unfairness of the way schools are organized in Texas — via independent school districts. It’s this governmental structure, more than any other factor, that has turned Highland Park and University Park into island communities increasingly out of reach of any residents other than the uber-wealthy. The ISD creates a cycle in which the great public schools result in higher property values, which can then pour even more money into those great schools:
I can understand the sentiment of people in HPISD who have sent me notes over the past week. Their home is often their life’s major investment. And they made that investment in Highland Park precisely so they could send their children to school there. And any suggestion that the ISD system we have is not a good system feels like reaching into their pockets, or worse, chipping at an important foundation of their family life.
But they are benefiting from government no less than the welfare recipient. A structure was put in place that benefits them according to their means. And they are taking advantage of that structure in the same way the welfare recipient is.
Neither should be blamed for that. We accept what is given to our best advantage and to the advantage of those we love. That’s human nature.
But without casting stones at one another, we can step back and consider whether the system we have is the best system we could have.
Bush proposes a system wherein ISDs would have to accept a certain number of students from outside their geographic borders, chosen by lottery. I think we’d be better off blowing up ISDs entirely and administering schools at the county level, which is how it is done in many other states. That way tax revenue generated by homes on Beverly and Armstrong could find its way equally to South Dallas.
His idea is likelier to get off the ground. But, yes, we need a change.Full Story