Texas state Rep. Glenn Rogers stirred up controversy this week when he announced his intention to file legislation for the 2025 legislative session that would eliminate the Texas Education Agency (TEA). His argument took aim at TEA, suggesting that the agency had become a breeding ground for wasteful spending and an ever-expanding bureaucracy that threatened the core values of education in Texas.
Rogers pointed to alarming statistics, revealing that TEA’s budget had swelled by 39% over the past decade, accompanied by a staggering increase in full-time employees. Unlike in numerous other states, the agency’s head, Education Commissioner Mike Morath, is appointed rather than elected, rendering the commissioner unaccountable to the concerns of parents, community leaders, and teachers.
The much-reviled STAAR test, administered by TEA, drew Rogers’ strongest criticism. The agency’s rating system for school districts has been condemned as inconsistent and arbitrary by the public education community broadly.
“Each legislative session, the TEA is hunting for new areas of regulatory control. Like any bureaucracy, the TEA craves increased budgets and mandates,” Rogers said. “In reality, we know that parents first, followed by teachers and local elected officials, are in a much better position to determine the educational needs of our students.”
Roger’s press release drew comparisons between TEA and the federal Department of Education (DOE). Rogers charged the DOE with being “a source for liberal indoctrination of students,” though he offered no evidence of this being the case at either TEA or the DOE.
In the 88th Legislature, TEA attempted to expand its reach into uncharted territory: regulating private and home education in Texas. The proposed voucher plan, which would have been administered by TEA, would have extended the agency’s influence into private schools and home-schooling, a scheme that Hotline readers will remember TEA Deputy Commissioner Steve Lechelop was caught cheering in leaked audio early last year. Rogers, meanwhile, was one of the 84 legislators who voted against private school vouchers in the final special session of 2023.