Legislative Session Pre-Briefing: Education | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

All Eyes on Austin: Our Education Policy Pre-Briefing for the 88th Texas Legislative Session

View a video recap featuring our panel of education experts as they explore the most pressing policy issues facing North Texans.

In preparation for the 2023 Texas legislative session, which begins Jan. 10, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas recently partnered with the United Ways of Tarrant, West Ellis, Grayson and Denton counties to host a special three-part virtual public policy series. During each event, our panels of experts explored the most pressing state policy issues facing North Texans in the areas of education, health and income.

The first virtual event, held Sept. 20, focused on education policy and featured experts who delivered insights into some of the key educational topics that are likely to come up this legislative session:

  • Melanie Rubin of the North Texas Early Education Alliance, who discussed childcare and early learning
  • Chandra Villanueva with Every Texan Equity, who explored education and school finance
  • Ashley Harris from United Ways of Texas, who tackled the topic of digital equity and inclusion

These topics directly impact our own educational priorities, which center around ensuring more North Texas students graduate high school prepared to succeed in college or a career.

View a video recap of the speaker’s remarks, or read on for highlights:

Melanie Rubin, North Texas Early Education Alliance – Childcare & Early Learning

 

Chandra Villanueva, Every Texan – Equity in Education & School Finance

 

Ashley Harris, United Ways of Texas – Digital Equity

Our three experts agreed that next year’s legislative session is likely to have significant impacts on the state’s education policy.

Rubin explored the variety of gaps that exist in our state’s early education system and how the legislature could improve our childcare infrastructure.

“[During the session], our priorities are to increase access to quality, affordable childcare to help parents get back to work and to improve compensation and working conditions for the early childcare education workforce,” she said.

Addressing the topic of school finance, Villanueva stressed the importance of bringing the basic allotment for school funding up to the national average and including an inflation adjustment to ensure schools have the funding they need.

“Another big priority for us going into session is going to be looking at enrollment-based funding,” she said. “Currently our schools are funded based on attendance, and that leaves a lot of kids behind. On average, every year, over 300,000 students are not counted at all in our school finance system. Moving to an enrollment-based funding system would better serve all our kids.”

On the topic of digital equity, Harris pointed out that many Texans face barriers to digital connectivity, including affordability, access to appropriate devices, digital literacy and more.

“We know our state can and should do more to ensure all Texans—including K-12 students, adult learners and other higher education students—have the opportunity to engage in and thrive in a digital world, which we know will ensure they can succeed on their pathways to college and career and long-term financial stability,” she said. “Some of the emerging priorities that we’re trying to explore include ensuring that Texas uses state funds to supplement federal funds to build out more infrastructure for broadband and close that digital divide.”

 

Advocate with United Way

As you can see from our All Eyes on Austin education event, the upcoming legislative session is poised to have a big impact on state education policy in North Texas. We invite you to join us in advocating for our key education priorities:

  • Strengthening affordable high-quality early education
  • Closing student achievement gaps and improving college and career readiness
  • Achieving digital equity and inclusion for all

Throughout the 140 days of the 2023 legislative session, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will work with advocates like you to demonstrate community-wide support for key policy issues that impact education, income and health in North Texas. No one organization or person can successfully create significant change on any given issue; rather, we are most successful when we can rally the entire community—individuals, corporate partners, nonprofits and more—and make it a true movement.

We make it easy to advocate for lasting change. Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts, and we’ll let you know when and how to contact your elected officials to make the biggest possible impact.

Interested in learning more? Read our blog about how and why we advocate.

See More of Our ‘All Eyes on Austin’ Event Series

Interested in learning more about key issues for the 2023 legislative session? Click below to view our video recaps of the virtual income and health events.

All Eyes on Austin – Income event recap >
All Eyes on Austin – Health event recap >

This article was published on: Oct 12, 2022