State Rep. Fred Brown has put a target on the Higher Education Coordinating Board, with legislation to abolish the agency. The Bryan lawmaker says the board should go so education can be better coordinated. Others aren’t so sure.
Mr. Brown (R-Bryan) was one of the Texas House Taxpayer Champions honored by Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility in the 81st Session.
His legislation would eliminate the coordinating board and merge many of its responsibilities into the Texas Education Agency.
The justification, he says, is that the state needs to begin thinking of K-12 and college as part of the same pipeline instead of as two distinctly different worlds. His bill would merge the Coordinating Board with the Texas Education Agency to create a single state agency focused on preschool, college and everything in between. “There’s always been a real disconnect,” he says. “We need to be thinking about K-16. For the sake of our students, it just makes sense.“
Also supporting the plan is Texas A&M University System’s chancellor, Mike McKinney.
On the other hand, the coordinating board’s commissioner doesn’t think much of the idea, saying it won’t save much money and would introduce a whole new set of governance problems.
I’m told several conservative groups don’t like the bill because it would also remove various powers from the elected State Board of Education — placing it instead in the hands of the commissioner.
Remember, education — elementary through university — currently takes up about a third of the state budget.
Whatever one might think of Mr. Brown’s push to eliminate the coordinating board (and many will be lining up against it), he should at least be congratulated for looking proactively at ways to improve efficiency in state government.
Especially this session, every legislator should be on the hunt for opportunities to end duplication and tighten efficiency. Whether this bill would actually do it remains to be seen.