Although the Texas Legislature failed to pass school choice legislation earlier this year, with many Democrats and Republicans alike voting against it, a new study has found that a majority of Texans support expanding educational freedom.

A new poll conducted by the University of Texas shows that 66 percent of rural voters supported school choice legislation this session, along with 59 percent of urban voters and 55 percent of suburban voters.

During the regular 88th Legislative Session, Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe) authored Senate Bill 8, which would have given all students in Texas $8,000 in an education savings account to use toward the education model of their choice. SB 8 passed in the Senate but was left pending in the House’s Public Education Committee, depriving millions of Texas parents and students of meaningful school choice legislation.

Awaiting a call from Gov. Greg Abbott for a special session dedicated to school choice later this year, House Speaker Dade Phelan announced earlier this month that he has created a select committee to tackle education issues.

According to Phelan, the new Select Committee on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment will be making recommendations for:

  • ensuring all Texas youths enjoy equal educational opportunities and the freedom to obtain a quality education.
  • improving outcomes for Texas public school students and supporting educators and educational institutions.
  • modernizing assessment and accountability measures for Texas schools educating K-12 students.

However, while the Texas House has slow-rolled and killed school choice legislation, the newest poll shows an exponential increase in support for school choice.

In 2017, a similar poll conducted by the University of Texas showed only 42 percent of respondents were in favor of establishing a voucher, educational savings account (ESA), or other “school choice” program in Texas. The newest poll shows a 16 percentage point increase in support of school vouchers.

School choice advocate Corey DeAngelis told Texas Scorecard the newest poll shows that Texans want and are demanding school choice.

“Texans are demanding education freedom. A majority of voters from virtually every subgroup support school choice,” said DeAngelis. “Majority support holds strong regardless of race, geography, age, gender, and education level. Virtually every subgroup polled supported school choice—including 77 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Independents—except for liberals. The far left know their ideology has infiltrated the government school system, and they want to maintain that monopoly on the minds of other people’s children.”

DeAngelis also criticized Texas House members who have opposed school choice by claiming it is unpopular in rural areas.

“Times have changed and now the fake Republicans in the Texas House who have historically opposed parental rights in education need to get with the program,” said DeAngelis. “Governor Abbott is calling a special session to pass school choice, and 88 percent of Texas Republican primary voters supported the policy on the ballot just last year. It’s a top Texas GOP legislative priority, and there’s no excuse for the Republican-controlled House to fail to deliver for parents this year.”

Texas House RINOs have used the excuse that they live in rural areas to side with the status quo and kill the Republican Party platform issue of school choice. That has always been an absurd excuse they have used to try to have their cake and eat it too. These new poll results should put that lame excuse to bed once and for all; rural voters were much more likely to support school choice policies (66 percent) than those in urban (59 percent) and suburban (55 percent) areas. These Republican legislators in rural areas should be the last ones voting against parental rights in education.

Abbott has indicated he will call lawmakers back for a special session on school choice later this year.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.