The Permanent School Fund, a multi-billion dollar endowment for the purchase of schoolbooks, is an important tool in achieving educational excellence throughout all parts of Texas. Like all similarly-sized endowments, the Fund suffered setbacks during the recent economic downturn, but it weathered the storm better than most. As Texas makes the inevitable transition toward the digital transmission of school curricula, State Board of Education oversight of the Permanent School Fund is more important than ever.
The State Board of Education must insist that professional fund managers--including Texas Education Agency staff and external investment counselors--perform their duties with absolute openness and honesty. Most important, the State Board of Education must avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in its management of the Permanent School Fund.