Thrive Together

A Vision for Texas Schools, from Pre-K to Post-Doc

There are certain things every Texas parent should expect from their child’s school. For example, most of us assume that public schools in the state with the world’s eighth-largest economy could guarantee a sufficient number of bus drivers to safely welcome kids to school in the morning. And most districts can guarantee that, for now, though the drivers who transport kids every day are doing so while living paycheck to paycheck.  

Instead of supportive teachers who can devote their full focus and expertise to children’s needs, we have teachers with an undefined workweek eyeing the clock, worried they won’t make it to their second job on time.  

In this report, Thrive Together: A Vision for Texas Schools, we have outlined a different public education system — one that is funded to meet students’ needs, from pre-K all the way to post-doc. This is not a pipe dream. It is the reality we could have if Texas’ elected leaders prioritized it. 

In the 89th Legislature, which opens in January 2025, lawmakers will argue over whether to increase the basic allotment for public school funding for the first time since 2019. Those who would prefer to privatize public schools rather than invest in them will ask the question they always do: “What is a fully funded public school anyway?”  

In 2023, amid the lost session for public education that was the 88th Legislature, Texas AFT and Every Texan answered that question in our report, Fully Funded & Fully Respected: The Path to Thriving Texas Public Schools. The answer was $33.4 billion for this biennium.  

Welcome to Utopia ISD. Enrolling Texas students for the Class of … ? 

That may sound like an enormous sum but consider the budget surplus for the biennium: $32.7 billion. For roughly the same price tag as the extra money in the state’s coffers, Texas could have ensured across-the-board pay raises for all public school employees, increased staffing in mental health and student support roles, affordable health care for active and retired educators, and smaller class sizes for Texas kids.  

The Legislature did not choose to fully fund its public schools, and we are living with the consequences.  

As we look toward the next opportunity lawmakers will have to ensure schools that help our kids and educators thrive, we present to you what the state’s plentiful resources could provide. In short, this report shows you what a fully funded public education system looks like, because we’ve never seen one in Texas.  

Our hope is that by the end of this report, you’re ready to demand that future. Because our kids and our communities deserve it.  

Join Our Fight: If you’re a Texas school employee (K-12 or higher ed!), we invite you to join our union & our fight to thrive. Join online today.