Despite being a red state for decades, Texas legislators have struggled to pass meaningful school choice legislation. It appears that is about to change.
In 2023, the Lone Star State will have its next legislative session, and choice will be one of the hot-button issues after two years of heated debate on education. Despite the failures of the past, those who believe government funding should follow the student are hopeful that next year will be the year Texas parents will finally begin having the final say when it comes to where and how their children are educated.
One of the biggest obstacles for Texans supporting the school choice cause has not come from Democrats. Instead, it has come from Republican lawmakers representing rural areas of the state. These officials argue that allowing parents to select their children’s schools will have a deleterious impact on educational facilities in rural localities. Indeed, folks like State Rep. Gary VanDeaver argue that their constituents oppose school choice. But unfortunately for them, a recent report suggests otherwise.
Texas Scorecard’s Sid Miller points out that during the state’s Republican primary, “the platform plank most enthusiastically and overwhelmingly support by rural voters was … school choice.”
In that election, Texas Republicans from urban, suburban, and rural parts of the state all voted on Proposition 9, which reads, “Texas parents and guardians should have the right to select schools, whether public or private, for their children, and the funding should follow the student.”
To the shock of the Austin political class, nine out of 10 primary voters supported this proposition, and virtually every county in the state overwhelmingly supported it.
“Three quarters of the counties that voted in favor by 95 percent or higher have populations under 20,000. Of the 67 most supportive counties, 58 have populations under 100,000,” he added.
Gov. Greg Abbott has been one of the loudest proponents of school choice. During the gubernatorial campaign, he stressed that Texas “can fully fund public schools while also giving parents a choice about which school is right for their child” and said that “empowering parents means giving them the choice to send their children to any public school, charter school or private school with state funding following the student.”
State Rep. VanDeaver and others have been on the front lines of the offensive against school choice, having helped to scuttle similar measures in 2017 and other years. He claimed parents complained about having to pay property taxes – when they choose to homeschool their children – to send them to private institutions.
“I prefer to reduce their property taxes, so they have the option of spending that money any way they choose, whether it be alternative education choices, saving for college or purchasing a new car,” VanDeaver said during an interview with KHOU.
Nevertheless, it appears the people have spoken, and their views on the matter don’t exactly favor those who wish to continue limiting educational options for parents and their children. In the face of an era in which the school choice movement is enjoying widespread support across the country, it just might be too difficult for opponents to craft an effective persuasion strategy to convince parents that they should continue being confined to certain schools.
Progressive efforts to use the school system to indoctrinate young children into their Marxist cult has become the subject of fiery debate, when parents realized what these individuals were presenting to their kids through educators and school staff. As it turns out, people don’t want their young ones learning to judge others based on skin color and that they should have no hesitation when it comes to transitioning to the opposite gender.
Texas parents are fired up, as evidenced by the widespread victories of conservative candidates in school board races. If there was any time that significant school choice would be passed in the Lone Star State, it is now.