A state lawmaker is putting the Texas House leadership on notice, saying their latest attempt at school choice is not a “serious bill.”
Last week, State Rep. Brad Buckley (R–Salado), who chairs the House Education Committee, filed House Bill 1—a nearly 200 page proposal that combines teacher pay raises with a very limited education savings account program.
While the Senate’s version would give $8,000 to each student to spend on private schools and other education expenses, the current House version limits that to 75 percent of the average funding per-pupil at public schools, or around $6,160. Students with disabilities from low-income families would receive priority.
Additionally, the bill has a cap of only 25,000 students in its first year.
The legislation would also overhaul the state’s A-F accountability ratings for public schools, removing the ratings entirely for the current school year.
“This is not a serious bill any more than Dade Phelan is a serious speaker,” said Toth.
Specifically, Toth took aim at the legislation’s expansion of the controversial State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test.
“Serious people that are serious about education know that we need to curtail the expansion of high stakes testing, not expand it,” said Toth. “So this bill is dead.”
Toth isn’t the only one to took issue with the House’s proposal in its current form. Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said the bill “differs from what the Governor’s office had negotiated with the House’s leadership team selected by the Speaker.”
This led Toth to say Phelan was not negotiating in good faith with Abbott and the Senate.
“It isn’t a serious bill. It’s a poison pill to kill school choice,” said Toth.
Phelan and Buckley did not respond to a request for comment before publication.