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Education Inequities At left, two schools sustain water damage. The top photo shows a science classroom at South Side Jr: High School in San Antonio; the bottom, an unuseable shop at Central Intermediate in Brownsville. Ceiling lights’ are reflected in a pool of rainwater. Above, a coMputer science room at South Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie. Below, an indoor pool at Highland Park High School, Highland Park. Photos by Alan Pogue has a high Hispanic population, yet a high academic record and high test scores. “Test scores cannot always be correlated with the wealth of a district. Various other factors go into it. . . . We can always think of various members of society who come from very poor backgrounds,” Turner said. Cantu, in fact, was a graduate of a low wealth district in Brownsyille. In -1974, she taught at a high school which had nearly 5,000 students crammed into a building designed for 2,000. She went on to earn a law degree at Harvard. She was asked if she was not an example of the very point Turner was making. “That was a fluke,” she replied. “My parents paid for private pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and ‘Mom had some college education. The’ answer to that is how many more students from the Valley would be able to take advantage of higher education if we had opened more educational doors.” “The superstars can somehow work their way through the system, or in spite of the system,” Kauffman added. But he suggested comparing the number of students from Highland Park who attend Harvard or other East Coast schoog, to the number from the Valley before drawing any conclusions. There are other arguments in favor of a more equitable school finance system, including those posed by the Texas Research League in two major education studies. The League recommends that the state guarantee that “a lack of financial .resources should not stand as a barrier to participation in higher education” and notes that Texas must be able to offer a well-educated work force if it is to attract new business and wean itself from the oil and gas economy. It notes that both Florida and California have made major commitments to better education on grounds it attracts more business. In addition, the League notes that the enrollment rates of Mexican Americans in college will be of special importance in the 1990s. In the .1-990s, “colleges will be competing for declining numbers of persons in the 18 to 24 age range. An increase in the low enrollment of Hispanics, the state’s fastest growing major population group, would be a significant moderating factor in what could otherwise be a period of retrenchment in higher education,” the League said. Cantu agrees that there are many arguments to be made on behalf of fair school financing because a high educational leYel is linked to the economic prosperity of Texas. And she notes that the Anglo population will be drawing more and more on the Hispanic popular lion for workers in the service area. The adequate education of those workers should be of interest to everyone. But Cantu said there is more to the school finance lawsuit than that. “Some people think that something should be done, simply because it’s the right thing to do,” she said. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9