After being promoted by Gov. Greg Abbott as his top legislative priority for 2023, legislation providing universal and meaningful school choice to parents appears unlikely to pass the Texas House. A watered-down and severely limited version of the Senate’s measure has drawn the ire of Gov. Abbott.
Yesterday, we asked if readers thought Abbott should call lawmakers into a special session on the issue.
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Here is a sample of the responses we received from our readers after they voted in the survey.
“As a retired teacher who has had other teachers in my family, it seems to me that if we truly want to improve our education system in Texas, we need to have school choice. If you want to see a public school improve, give that school some competition, not more money!” – Glenda Piacenti
“I like the idea of school choice. However, if it is a covert means by the establishment to use it to regulate and control private or homeschooling, then I am opposed.” – Philip Johnson
“Yes, school choice should exist in a meaningful form. For nine years, my ISD tax dollars have funded schools my children don’t attend. We pulled them from the ISD because they weren’t doing their job to our satisfaction, and yet we are still paying them to do that job. No school is going to fix their problems when there is no negative effect as a result.” – Meghan Matson
“School choice and vouchers is just a Trojan horse to more control over schooling in Texas. It’s especially a threat to homeschoolers. Sure, we don’t “have” to take any money. BUT, for those that do, they will open the door to more government controls over homeschooling.” – Dawn Martin
“Yes. In fact, he ought to do everything in his power to keep those worthless RINOs in Austin until they pass (or at least have a vote on) all the Republican priorities. This is shameful what is going on under the leadership of that closet Democrat Phelan.” – Eric Knutson
“Once the money follows the child, parents will finally be free to get a quality education for their children. Schools will be held to a much higher standard.” – Dianna Allen
“Stopping the brainwashing of our kids is a top priority. School choice is the only way.” – Jeffrey A. Mayer
“School choice is important, but we have bigger fish to fry in our state: border security, election security. If you do not fix these two first, then we have no need to work on school choice!” – Gary Alford
“Yes, school choice should exist not for a few, but for all. Taxpayers’ money should go to educate the children along with their families’ money. A fair share to all.” – Johnny Nail
“I voted no because I am a homeschooling parent who does not want money from the government giving them a foot in the door to tell me what and how I must teach. I enjoy the freedom to teach my children according to my values, not those of the government, which is why I chose to homeschool in the first place.” – Cassy Gundelach
“I voted ‘Yes,’ but I find it telling that Abbott isn’t threatening special sessions for property tax relief or child gender mutilation. Guess his ‘conservative stance’ only goes so far…” – Jason Kerr
“Having served as a delegate to the 2022 State GOP Convention and voting for the top eight legislative priorities, I feel completely betrayed by the Texas House.” – Helen Hurd
“After working in school systems for 33 years, I retired before I turned any more students into toadstools. I encourage every young parent that I meet today NOT to send their kids to the PUBLIC schools, even if they have to get a second job to do it.” – Eleanor Edmundson
“Many homeschool parents don’t want school choice because of the inevitable rules/programs that will be forced on them if the government gets involved. As a retired Texas teacher, I fear that money dedicated to school choice will take away funds which could be used for improving public education, thereby putting disadvantaged students at risk.” – Mary Grace Hearnsberger
“A thousand times YES for ‘extra sessions’. Can even let the senators stay home until the stalling, gimmicky House members come up with a true school choice bill that can be voted on.” – Tim Rhodes
“Of course, the neo-fascists in the Texas House don’t want school choice, free speech, or anything else that would threaten their club.” – Tobie Hall
“The answer to school choice and education is to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying. Legislators, especially in the House, refuse to bite the hand that feeds their campaign fund accounts.” – Terry Harper
“School choice is about economic freedom. One should not be locked into a government propaganda machine that counters the values of parents. America has become stifled economically and in her growth of liberty due to the government not teaching moral character.” – Greg Reinhart
“If the children of Texas are not ‘special’ enough to fight for their best education, I do NOT know who is!” – Carol Dean
“Texas tried to pass its first school choice bill in 1993 – 30 years ago! Even since Republicans have held large majorities in the Legislature, the Texas House has consistently killed school choice over and over. It is disgraceful!” – Jeff Judson
“Greg’s blatant grab at an upper-class tax cut in the form of discounts on private school tuition at the expense of our public schools is the most disgusting thing I have borne witness to in all my years as a Texan voter.” – Joshua Wimberley
“It’s obvious we need to clean out our Republican Texas House, as they most certainly are not working for us.” – Cindy Middleton
“I am thoroughly disgusted with the public school system. High school graduates can’t make change because they aren’t taught math. The schools are only teaching the kids to take the STAAR test. They are not teaching basic studies; therefore, the students are unprepared to step out into the workforce and function properly. The need to stop all the left-wing nonsense and go back to the basics is clearly evident.” – Sandi Stephens
“With no hope for significant tax reform, Texas parents should definitely have a choice of where to send their children and the money should follow the child!” – Lloyd Smith