(Click here for Part I of this series.) The Texas Freedom Network and other observers have long been puzzled about why Rick Agosto, a San Antonio Democrat, has often sided with the State Board of Education's far-right faction since his election in 2006. He has done so even when all other Democrats -- and even some Republicans (who are not part of the far-right faction) -- have refused to do so. The revelations this weekend in the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman about ethics concerns surrounding the board's hiring of an investment consultant raise more questions about Mr. Agosto's relationship to the board's far-right faction. More importantly, perhaps, they reinforce the need for the Legislature to ensure that decisions about what Texas children learn in their public school classrooms are not held hostage to political games involving management of the $20.5 billion Permanent School Fund. Read on. Read More

Earlier this year the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to shift authority over the Permanent School Fund (PSF) from the State Board of Education to a panel of financial experts. Senate Republican leaders, however, let the measure die without even a hearing. Now they may have good reason to regret that decision.

On Sunday the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman ran separate stories about ethics concerns surrounding the state board’s management of the PSF. The $20.5 billion fund is the second largest educational endowment in the country. That money funds the purchase of textbooks and other school supplies and guarantees bonds issued by local school districts.

There is more to the story than what was reported on Sunday by the Morning News and Statesman. But first, here’s a summary of what we saw as some key points in the two stories:

Р The stories detail ethics concerns regarding recent board votes to hire a new general investment consultant, Massachusetts-based New England Pension Consultants (NEPC), to help board members manage the PSF.

– Some state board members say they were not told that several members of PSF’s executive staff expressed… Read More