How You Can Help in the Fight Against Private-School Vouchers

?We previously encouraged you to send an online letter from the Texas AFT website to your legislators letting them know to oppose any attempt to use taxpayer money for private-school tuition (vouchers). If you didn’t send a letter yet, you can do so here.
It’s also good to know we’re not alone in this fight. The Network for Public Education, a national advocacy group working on issues promoting public education, has taken notice that private-school vouchers are a top priority for some of the state leadership in Texas, and the organization has launched a campaign to its members nationwide to oppose vouchers in our state. Here’s what they had to say this weekend, and we encourage you to send a letter from their website as well:
We need you to take action to stop privatization, today!
Have you heard that a voucher bill has been introduced in the Texas Senate?
Under SB 3 all Texas children are eligible for an educational savings account (ESA) if they leave a public or charter school, or are entering school for the first time.
Families with income double the reduced lunch amount will be eligible for $5,836 toward private or religious school tuition, or homeschooling expenses such as online courses, textbooks, curricula, tutors and purchase of computers.  Families under 2 times the reduced lunch threshold would collect $7,295 per child per year, and a disabled student $8,754 per child per year, regardless of disability or family income.
The bill would also implement a tax credit scholarship program, on top of ESAs.
The Reverend Charles Johnson, executive director of Pastors for Texas Children, is opposed to SB 3.  “We believe public education is a basic provision of the social contract,” he said. “Anything that releases us from that public trust to the benefit of a few should be opposed.”

We’ve created an action campaign that will email a letter to your senator asking them not to support this bill that would offer a voucher to every child in Texas. To send your letter, click here.

Why is the Texas Senate fast tracking this bill?
A new organization with deep ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has formed in Texas specifically to lobby for SB 3. Texans for Educational Opportunity (TEO) is led by Randan Steinhauser. Before moving to Austin, Texas in 2013, Steinhauser was based in Washington, D.C. and traveled the country pushing vouchers and school choice as the National Director of External Affairs for DeVos’s American Federation of Children.
And now Steinhausen has brought DeVos’s agenda to Texas. Her group is actively fundraising and says they will support “legislators who stand up and fight for an education savings account.” Tell your senator to push back against the privatization agenda coming from DeVos and Washington, D.C..
Send your letter today!
Thanks for all you do,
Carol Burris
Executive Director, NPE Action