Education in Texas is at a crossroads. Now, more than ever, we have an opportunity to make systemic reforms that will impact students for decades to come.

Before joining Empower Texans, I worked for two years as a public school teacher in Houston ISD, where I saw first-hand the amazing students and dedicated teachers we have in this state.

I know from experience the challenges our students and teachers face, and I’ve seen just how broken the system is. We’ve thrown money at the problem, added new standardized tests, and even tried “racing to the top”, yet none of it is working. It seems as though we’ve tried it all, when in reality, we haven’t.

Make no mistake, our students are not failing us, we are failing them. We’ve created a system that promotes putting administrators and bureaucrats ahead of students, parents and teachers.

Never in my time in the classroom was there a moment when my students needed more administrative oversight; what they needed were engaged parents who were empowered with choices.

Let’s be clear: the single most important factor in determining student success in education is parental involvement.

This analysis is nothing new. We’ve heard it for years. But the problem is when most educrats say they want parents involved, they don’t really mean it. Sure, the idea sounds great, but with parental involvement comes real accountability, which isn’t the most welcomed of ideas in our educational system.

From the moment a student steps into the classroom, their parents have already been pushed out of the picture by not having a real opportunity to choose what school is best for their child.

Unfortunately, Texas has embraced an educational structure that enslaves students in a system that defines their value based on their zip code. Simply put, too many kids are trapped in failing schools with no way out.

The solution? Choice.

People who put students first support strategies that get kids out of failing schools immediately. Parent triggers and lifting the cap on charter schools are just a few of the multitude of options that we could afford parents and students if we stopped putting adult comfort ahead of student success.

As Governor Perry said in his state of the state address, “we have to remember that the focus has to be squarely on one specific special interest group: our students.”

Now is the time to provide Texas students and parents with the opportunity to achieve all that our great state has to offer. Now is the time to save Texas students.