Known for leading the fight in Washington, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is now leading one in Austin.
In a letter sent to every member of the Texas Legislature, Cruz’s argument is abundantly clear: there are no excuses for failure; expand parental choice in education.
“There is no political, social, policy or moral excuse for delaying what Florida, Arizona, Nevada and many other states have already done,” wrote Cruz in the letter. “Pass a school choice program now that allows parents to design an education that is best for their children.”
Cruz’s letter is much needed support for school choice advocates. Despite Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick championing the issue and the Republican Party of Texas making it a priority, it faces ardent opposition in the Texas House.
In February, State Rep. Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood) gave the issue a death sentence from his perch as chair of the Texas House Public Education Committee.
Such action didn’t come without consequences.
Shortly after Huberty made his remarks, conservative activists in his district began moving to oppose him—authoring a resolution to ask the State Republican Executive Committee to censure him for so brazenly defying the party platform.
Though the resolution was ultimately neutered into a more generic “we call on all elected officials to support the platform” resolution before it was passed, the message is still clear: Republican activists expect the Texas Legislature to pass school choice reforms this session.
With the support of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, advocates expect school choice legislation to pass the Texas Senate. Most likely to pass will be SB 3 by State Sen. Larry Taylor (R–Friendswood) which creates vehicles known as Educational Savings Accounts that would allow funding to follow the child as he moves to a charter, private, or home school.
That proposal got Cruz’s explicit endorsement.
“My purpose is to let you know that I strongly support school choice, specifically ESAs, and intend to continue to speak out on behalf of private school choice in Texas,” wrote Cruz. “I urge you to stand with the children of Texas and against the entrenched special interests that are trying to deny Texas children and their parents the freedom to decide how their education money is spent.”
Conservatives in the Texas House are hoping that Cruz’s letter will help convince their colleagues to support the issue as well.
“Families in my district and across Texas are demanding school choice,” said State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park). “I thank Senator Cruz for highlighting this issue which he has correctly called the civil rights issue of our time.”
A full copy of Cruz’s letter can be viewed here.