Texas Education Grantmaker 
Advocacy Consortium
Like us on Facebook 

Issue: #1 September/2012

Welcome to the first bi-monthly newsletter from the Texas Education Grantmaker Advocacy Consortium! As grantmakers committed to improving public education in the state of Texas, we welcome you to learn more about TEGAC and become involved. We are gearing up for a very busy fall and looking forward to the important education issues that will play a prominent role in the upcoming 2013 Legislative Session. So, please take a moment to read through this newsletter and contact us with any questions or comments, or if you are interested in becoming a member of TEGAC. 
Governor Appoints new Texas Education Agency CommissionerThe Texas Education Agency has a new Commissioner with the recent appointment of Mr. Michael Williams by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Mr. Williams is a former member of the Texas Railroad Commission - the oddly-named agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industries in Texas. Mr. Williams is known around the Capitol as a long-time close ally of Texas Governor Rick Perry and ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate and Congress earlier in 2012. Tea Party conservatives are hailing the appointment while education groups are questioning Mr. Williams' lack of experience in education policy or as a teacher, administrator, or school board member. Commissioner Williams has spoken and written favorably of charter schools and of public school vouchers. Time will tell.....

What Should We Expect in 2013?
What happens at the Texas Capitol matters to public education, so it matters to the Texas foundation community. Here's the latest news from the Capitol with information about what it means to your foundation: 
The 2013 Texas Legislature will be all about the money - except for the fact that nobody will likely be talking about the money until after the regular session has ended. The school finance debate is in the courts so the Texas Legislature remains in a school finance holding pattern. Most at the Capitol agree that few legislators will want to act on school finance until the courts force the issue of addressing the state's duct tape and baling wire system of paying for public education. Lack of action on finance creates a window of opportunity for debate on policy. The Texas Legislature is already armoring up for key battles on standardized testing, charter school expansion, and public school vouchers.  
  • Standardized testing is in the crosshairs with implementation of the new STAAR test and higher stakes end of course exams. Agreement is growing about reining in the state's testing systems both from Texans concerned about the impact of testing on the quality of instruction and those worried about the huge costs and massive contracts with testing companies. 
  • Charter schools will likely have a good session in 2013. With the very real possibility that Texas could increase or possibly eliminate the cap on the number of new charter schools, concern is growing about the quality of current charter schools. A recent Capitol hearing included invited testimony from numerous speakers urging the legislature to close poorly performing charter schools and to implement a clear system for closing bad charter schools before or concurrent to the system's expansion. 
  • The big issue at the Capitol in 2013 will be public school vouchers. The stars are aligning at the Capitol, in the Governor's office, and at TEA for the best possible moment for public school vouchers to pass in Texas. Vouchers bring odd political bed-fellows and the politics will be fascinating, contentious, and divisive. Some Capitol observers are already speculating on the possibility of a special session or sessions devoted to the issue.
Save the Date! Upcoming Webinar with Children at Risk - September 21st at 1:00 PM CST
Please join Dr. Robert Sanborn, President & CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK, and Sarah Goff
, Research Coordinator, for a sneak peek at the preliminary data findings from Texas Public Education Cuts: Impact Assessment on Friday, September 21st from 1:00-1:45 pm CST. This is the research that the Consortium has been supporting and the preliminary findings will be followed by a larger statewide research project underway currently, the findings of which will be out in January 2013. 
To participate in this webinar:
Log in to this website: www.anymeeting.com/CHILDRENATRISK1
Phone Number: 309.944.9515
Guest Access Code: 4189043#
There is also a press conference planned to announce the release of the findings at the Texas Capitol on Thursday, September 27th at 10 am. We welcome any education grantmakers who are interested in attending.
New Research from CBPP: New School Year Brings More Cuts in State Funding for Schools

States have made steep cuts to education funding since the start of the recession and, in many states, those cuts deepened over the last year.  Elementary and high schools are receiving less state funding in the 2012-13 school year than they did last year in 26 states, and in 35 states school funding now stands below 2008 levels - often far below.  Click on links below to read full reports:


New School Year Brings More Cuts 


Texas Funding for Schools Much Lower Than Before Recession 

About the Consortium


In 2011 the Texas Legislature approved historic cuts to funding for public education.  Foundations across Texas have seen successful public/private partnerships threatened or eliminated by budget cuts.  Also, demand for scarce foundation dollars is increasing as community groups see their revenues eliminated from school district budgets.


In response, a geographically and politically diverse consortium group of foundations is joining together to promote, protect and improve public education. The Consortium is designed to be a forum and serve as a focal point for organizing philanthropic efforts.  In some cases the Consortium seeks to pool funds from multiple foundations to increase the impact of its advocacy efforts. The Consortium is partnering with policymakers, the media, the business community, academics, advocates, parents and others to ensure the broadest dissemination of its work.


Foundations with all levels of interest and experience in advocacy grantmaking are welcome to participate.  Because every foundation is different and the needs of the Consortium are so diverse, there is a place for every foundation in the Consortium.   


How do foundations join the Consortium?


Foundations are encouraged to become members of the Consortium.  When appropriate, members may decide to make a financial contribution to the Consortium. Contributions will cover the costs of research on the impacts of budget cuts, support for multi-foundation events like the 2013 Education Funders Day at the Texas Capitol, and basic administrative overhead such as printing and travel costs. The suggested contribution is $5,000 annually; however, Consortium members are encouraged to contribute at an amount commensurate with their endowment size. The Consortium has created a fund at the Austin Community Foundation to accept contributions.  Contributions can be forwarded to the Austin Community Foundation at:


Austin Community Foundation

C/O: Paula Lange, Finance Manager

4315 Guadalupe, Suite 300

Austin, Texas 78751

Tel: 512 472 4483


What are the benefits of membership?


Foundations that join the Consortium will receive:

  • Weekly legislative and policy updates
  • Up-to-the-minute information on the localized budget impact data produced by CHILDREN AT RISK and available via the Texas Tribune website
  • Annual summary of the impact of changes to education funding for all school districts
  • Media related exposure (if desired)
  • Logo placement on Consortium materials (if desired)
  • On-going training on the legal parameters of foundation and nonprofit advocacy
  • Participation in the Education Funders Day at the Capitol in February 2013 and 2015

Additionally, members can self-elect to be involved in developing the Consortium's strategy by participating in the Consortium Advisory Circle.


To learn more, please contact Jennifer Esterline, Executive Director, KDK-Harman Foundation, at jennifer@kdk-harman.org or 512.796.4530. 
In This Issue
Governor Appoints New TEA Commissioner
What Should We Expect in 2013?
New School Year Brings More Cuts
Featured Article
Please take a few moments to read the Texas Education Grantmaker Advocacy Consortium Business Plan to learn more about our work.
Quick Links

TEGAC Website Coming Soon! 

Like us on Facebook