Texas’ public school educators are split on Gov. Greg Abbott’s proposal to “empower parents” with school choice, according to a survey conducted this week by Texas Scorecard.
Abbott has been holding “parent empowerment” rallies around the state in support of education savings accounts. These state-funded accounts would provide parents with funds to pay for education-related items such as private school tuition or homeschooling supplies.
Central to Abbott’s message has been the proposition that parents should have more control over the manner in which their children are being educated.
Nearly 100,000 teachers were surveyed by Texas Scorecard. They were asked the following question:
As an educator, do you agree with Abbott that parents should be more empowered to manage their children’s education? Or, do you think parents need to step back and let professional public school teachers handle the educational upbringing of Texas’ youth?
More than 41 percent of respondents want to “empower parents with school choice,” while 42 percent say “public school teachers know best how to educate kids.” Nearly 17 percent of respondents indicated they were uncertain of their views.
Although “school choice” initiatives poll very high among Republican voters, efforts to implement them in Texas have been repeatedly blocked by a coalition of public school administrators, teacher unions, and school district vendors. School choice opponents like the Texas Association of School Boards have argued that such initiatives would drain money from public schools when countless parents inevitably withdraw their children, thereby implying that their opposition is rooted in maintaining public education’s near-monopoly status in Texas.
In March 2022, Texas Republican primary voters were asked to agree or disagree with this statement: “Texas parents and guardians should have the right to select schools, whether public or private, for their children, and the funding should follow the student.” More than 87 percent of Republicans agreed.