Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has put passage of a private-school voucher bill in the mix for his top legislative priorities this session. The key bill on that agenda is SB 3 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), which would create so-called education savings accounts and tuition tax credits to funnel scarce taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private-school operators, all in the name of “parental choice.” Also filed are HB 1184 by Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) and SB 542 by Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), both providing for tuition tax credits, and HB 1335 by Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), setting up education savings accounts primarily for special-education students.
It’s time to start ramping up resistance–including some common-sense points you can relay to your lawmakers–to stop these bad bills. From here you can send an online letter telling your Texas representative and senator to oppose any legislation that includes private-school vouchers in any form.
Here are some of the key points to consider when talking to your representative and senator about vouchers:
- Vouchers would segregate our students into the haves and have-nots and would primarily benefit upper-middle-class families that could afford the extra money needed to pay high private-school tuitions.
- Vouchers eliminate public accountability. Vouchers channel tax dollars into private schools that do not face state-approved academic standards, do not make budgets public, do not adhere to open meetings and records laws, do not publicly report on student achievement, and do not face the public accountability requirements contained in state and federal laws, including special-education laws.
- Vouchers divert attention, commitment, and dollars from public schools to subsidize private-school tuition for a few students, including many who already would attend private school, creating new costs for taxpayers. A dollar spent on a tuition voucher is a dollar drained from public education.
- Vouchers leave behind many disadvantaged students because private schools may not accept them or do not offer the special services they need.