School choice is a human rights issue, no matter where you live.

But not all schools are the same. Rural public schools tend to outperform their urban counterparts for a variety of reasons. The consequence is that politicians often assume that rural voters have less interest in school choice than urban voters.

During the 2022 Texas Republican primary, the platform plank most enthusiastically and overwhelmingly supported 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.

Rural Texans overwhelmingly want education freedom and school choice! In fact, there was no statistical difference in rural and urban votes for this proposition.

Opponents of educational freedom point out that this is just Republicans voters. However, polls indicate that minority voters, who make up a large portion of the Democrat base, support school choice just as strongly.

On November 8, voters had a choice between school choice supporter Greg Abbott and school choice opponent “Beto” O’Rourke. Abbott won by almost a million votes.

Texas should allow parents to select the school, public or private, that best serves the needs of their children. As Governor Abbott says, “the money should follow the child.”

Texas voters of all stripes clearly and overwhelmingly agree.

Rural Republican legislators have been reluctant to support parental choice, due in large part to public education activists and superintendents convincing them it wasn’t popular with their constituents, when in reality their objections are about keeping your tax dollars flowing into failing government schools.

With that lie now exposed, we must hold all of our elected representatives responsible for implementing the clear will of Texas voters.

It is time for school choice in Texas.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Sid Miller

An eighth generation farmer and rancher, Sid Miller is the 12th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture. He was elected to a third term in November. Sid is recognized as a leading voice in support of private property rights in Texas.

RELATED POSTS