It took less than a week, but lawmakers in the Texas House are already lining up against Texas parents and their children’s education.
Thursday, presumptive House Education Committee Chair Jimmie Don Aycock took a break from attacking grassroots conservatives on Twitter to sit down with the Texas Tribune to talk about changes in education policy on the agenda this session.
One item Aycock was asked about was State Sen. Donna Campbell’s SB 276, which provides school choice for Texas families by creating the Taxpayer Savings Grant. Parents could use the grant to receive amount up to 60% of what the state spends per-student on annual maintenance and operation, which would be $5,100 currently, to place their child in the school of their choice.
When asked about House support for the legislation, Aycock said “I think the house has always been more reluctant on vouchers.” He further compared the issue to food stamps, “We don’t want to create another entitlement program that we don’t have control over.” he said.
Such a statement smacks of arrogance. Allowing Texans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars is not an entitlement program.
School Choice already enjoys widespread support among Texans. It is supported by both the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Texas Association of Business. The Republican Party of Texas platform endorses it directly:
It’s also a priority Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick addressed in his inauguration speech only days ago.
“It is immoral to tell parents they must send their children to a perennially failing school. Parents deserve the right to pick the best school for their child.” said Patrick. “Some in Austin tell me school choice will never pass, but Dr. King is not the only one who can dream, I dream of the day when every parent has the choice to send their child to the school they pick because they believe it’s best for their child.”
Aycock disagrees, he thinks government knows better than parents how to spend their money on their kids, but would be ok with it if private schools were run more like public schools, completely defeating the purpose of seeking vouchers to get out of the system in the first place.
Overbearing and paternalistic government has been rejected time and time again by Texans. As Dan Patrick said, “’Come And Take It’ is not just a motto and a flag from the distant past. It remains our way of life in Texas to this day.”