On Thursday, committee appointments made by House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) revealed several new committee chairs, including Democrat State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. (Houston) as the new chairman of the House Public Education Committee. Dutton has served on the Public Education Committee since 1997 and replaces State Rep. Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood), who will remain on the committee. 

Republicans will hold a slight majority of members on the committee, and with a Democrat as chairman, the planks of the Democratic platform may become more of a priority, giving way to bills that support that agenda. 

Will bills opposing state takeovers of mismanaged, failing schools get traction? What about bills to eliminate school choice?

Other education planks from the Democrat agenda would create more state oversight of homeschooling and prioritize free school breakfasts, lunches, and after-school snacks to all students year-round.

According to their platform, Democrats want to end abstinence-only education policies and create “comprehensive, age-appropriate” sex education programs that are “LGBTQIA+” inclusive, with a contraception component to reduce dropout rates due to unintended pregnancy.

The Democrat platform will further expand big government’s reach into education and reduce local and parental control over education. Only time will tell if these items will become the new priorities of the Public Education Committee or if the slight Republican majority will be able to rein in the new chairman.

Tera Collum

Tera Collum has 13 years experience as a government and economics teacher in Texas public schools. She recently was the director of The Travis Institute of Educational Policy and Teachers for Texas.