Grassroots Republicans made their voices heard: they want school choice for all Texas students and parents.
By an overwhelming vote of 93% of the body, delegates to the Texas Republican State Convention affirmed they want to expand educational opportunities to improve the quality of our educational system.
We believe that all children should have access to quality education. We support the right to choose public, private, charter, or home education. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public, private, charter, or home school through means of tax exemptions and/or credits.
– 2016 Republican Party of Texas Platform
Momentum is building in Texas to pass legislation expanding educational opportunities. During the 84th legislative session, the Texas Senate passed a limited tax-credit scholarship program mostly along party lines (Sen. Konni Burton was the lone Republican voting against). Until that point, no major school choice reform bill had ever made it to the floor of the Texas Senate.
In contrast, Speaker Joe Straus and the leadership of the Texas House have refused to give any substantive school choice bill a hearing. Straus’ Public Education chairman Jimmie Don Aycock made headlines last session when it was discovered that his daughter was working for a lobbying firm representing a left-wing anti-school choice group. Aycock later announced as the end of session his intention to not seek re-election.
Will Speaker Straus and his cabal suddenly see the writing on the wall and pick a pro-freedom legislator to lead the Public Ed committee? Not likely. But pressuring bad actors (and defeating them at the polls) will eventually get the message across.