(FamilyConservationPAC.com) – The debate over whether to broaden school choice in Texas is getting heated, as supporters and opponents hold different opinions on who would profit from these voucher programs.
Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, has toured the whole state to mobilize support for school voucher initiatives.
According to Abbott, A school choice law approved by the state senate last month would allow 5.5 million Texas children to utilize taxpayer money to attend the school of their choosing through an education savings account.
Families would receive $8,000 each under SB 8 to put toward their child’s authorized private school tuition. Giving parents the freedom to select the best educational path for their child is again a top goal for this session.
In a news statement on Sunday, he stated that most Texans from all regions of the state and socioeconomic levels favor increasing school choice.
The time is NOW for school choice in Texas.
Texans across our state are ready to provide students with more opportunities to excel.
Parents must be restored as the primary decisionmakers in their child’s education. pic.twitter.com/cAxGzdEIFT
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 5, 2023
However, an alternative bill in the House is being opposed by rural Republicans and Democrats who have teamed together to do so.
A watered-down version of the plan was returned by lawmakers over the weekend, and Abbott indicated he would veto it since it would only allow 800,000 students to be eligible for the savings accounts.
The state’s school choice measures continue to be fiercely opposed by teachers’ unions, who claim these initiatives cut vital funding from public schools and mainly benefit wealthy families.
According to the Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers, the school choice movement is a “scam” that “eliminates transparency and public accountability.”
“Vouchers only help the wealthy who already send their children to private schools, according to the labor union, and undermine “underfunded” public schools.”
“When vouchers take more funding away from our neighborhood schools, which are already underfunded, the only beneficiaries will be the wealthiest parents, who already send their kids to private schools.
Vouchers would overcrowd classrooms for everyone else, putting every school employee who keeps the centers of our communities working on the line. And the communities that are hardest hit—often those that are more rural—are the ones who fall more and further behind, according to a blog post by the Texas AFT.”
School choice proposals were denounced by state representative Trey Martinez Fischer, the leader of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, as an “a la carte” method of spending.
“We cannot create a budget that will take into account people’s wants, requirements, and the specific products they believe are worthwhile investments. We’re making investments across the board,” he told Fox 7 Austin.
“Vouchers,” according to a supporter of school choice in Texas who spoke to Fox News Digital, “are a great equalizer that would help all families and have broad bipartisan support.”
“I think the legislature is beginning to understand that everyone has the right to vote, regardless of where they are on the political spectrum. In charge should be the parents. Parents ought to have more power. And any political official can benefit by choosing school choice,” according to Mandy Drogin, the campaign director for Next Generation Texas, who spoke to Fox News Digital.
In support of her argument, she cited a Real Clear Politics poll from the previous year that revealed that over 75% of voters favored school choice, including 68% of Democrats and 67% of Independents. In the primaries held the previous year, she added, 88% of Texas Republican voters favored school choice.
The proponent of school choice argued that the worries of the teachers’ unions shouldn’t take precedence over what voters and parents in the Lone Star state want.
“There is unanimity in favor of putting parenting back in the hands of the parents. Special interests who gain financially from a monopolistic system in which parents don’t have the ultimate power, or that administrators and a bureaucracy do, are the only ones preventing this.
No matter their zip code, the street they reside on, the amount of money in their bank account, the color of their skin, or the number of children they have, we will continue to advocate for every parent. Parents should always have the last say in where their children receive their education,” she said.
Gov. Abbott asserted that school choice improves public schools’ performance, in contrast to claims made by opponents that vouchers would drain funding from them.
At a rally in March of last year, he asserted that “public education improves wherever school choice is used. They are dying trying to keep that control. They demand that she insisted.”
Some of these videos highlight the reasons why many parents want school choice:
This week Texas will debate school choice. Some Republicans such as @morganmeyertx, @stevefortx, @kylekacal, & @shinefortexas oppose it. Do they want your kids groomed and indoctrinated in schools like this video of pride parade in a Texas school shows? pic.twitter.com/qGhEia8RcG
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 5, 2023
This week school choice is being debated in Texas & some Republicans are opposing it
This trans nonbinary Texas middle school teacher explains how she incorporates discussions about queerness & transness in the classroom
Parents should have the power over their kids’ education! pic.twitter.com/buQvNCFuuk
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 5, 2023
The school choice movement has had several well-publicized wins recently. Bills promoting school choice are being passed in GOP-led states nationwide.
Florida passed comprehensive school choice legislation in March, making every K–12 student eligible for education savings accounts and making it the fourth state this year to do so.
.@GovRonDeSantis just signed "universal school choice" in Florida. Now ANY student qualifies for $8,000 for a non-government education.
Two years ago, NO states had laws like that. Now, six do.
Parents and students may be starting to win: pic.twitter.com/vJSxzZs1i5
— John Stossel (@JohnStossel) March 27, 2023
The bottom line is parents should always have the right to control what is best for their children, not school boards or government bodies.
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