Another conservative priority is on life support after the Texas House moved to thwart efforts to expand parental choice in education. Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood) told an interviewer that school choice was “dead” in the Texas House this year.
“You are in the no-way, no-how category from everything I’m hearing on school choice,” said interviewer Evan Smith. “There is nothing that they could do to move off the shtick on this? This is dead, dead, dead?”
“I believe so, yes,” answered Huberty.
The response was an aggressive, but expected, move given Huberty’s appointment to the position by Speaker Joe Straus. However, pulling the plug on school choice places him in direct conflict with some of the state’s most powerful leaders.
Earlier this year, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick accused the Texas House of killing school choice reforms in previous sessions and demanded a record vote this session on school choice reforms.
“Last session the Senators passed the first ever school choice bill out of this building with money attached as a tax credit program. It never got a vote in the rest of the Legislature,” said Patrick. “I say, if you block a bill on school choice, you are blocking the future of that child, of that family, of that American Dream. We want a vote, up or down, in the Senate and in the House this session for school choice.”
Gov. Greg Abbott agreed.
“I know Lt. Gov. Patrick and legislative leaders from both the House and the Senate have been working on a school choice law,” said Abbott. “I hope and I urge that that law reach my desk. And when it does, I will make the choice to sign it and authorize school choice in the state of Texas.”
Defying both of them and the Republican Party of Texas – which named school choice a legislative priority – Huberty says he won’t allow the issue to reach the governor’s desk or have a record vote this session.
Instead, any reforms increasing competition in education will likely die in his committee due to a perverse sense of duty.
“Your responsibility as a chairman is to protect your members from tough votes,” said Huberty.
Huberty’s statement isn’t one of a civil servant, it’s one of a charlatan—embodying everything citizens hate about politicians and already causing him to take heat in his district.
After making his remarks, Huberty was heavily criticized by Robin Lennon of the Kingwood Tea Party.
“Dan Huberty is championing the Education Establishment, leaving nearly a million Texas students without hope of achieving the American Dream,” said Lennon.