Like I said, I’m still thinking about all this. To say the least, it’s a big and complicated subject, and I don’t claim any particular expertise. I am certain that there will be differences with the Senate bill, and there will be much horse-trading in conference committee. Reducing the number of exams, and aligning them with college admissions makes sense to me. Providing viable alternate paths to high school graduation that prepare kids for a professional career and aren’t viewed as lesser achievements is a good idea, too. I feel confident that whatever we do this session, we’ll be revisiting it next session, and likely again after that.
From Burka it seems to be that this is a fight between two (monied) factions.
There are two competing visions of the future of public education in Texas at stake in the debate over HB 5, which begins this morning on the House floor. One side is a group of industries calling themselves Jobs for Texas. Foremost among this group is the Texas Association of Manufacturers. The other side is Pearson, the testing company, and the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce, led by Bill Hammond.
I couldn’t help but think back to my own experience in Texas public schools many years ago (to be exact, I graduated from San Jacinto High School in 1956). To the best of my knowledge, the Legislature set minimum requirements and left the details to educators.
These days, legislators in Congress and the states seem to think they must decide everything in education and tell educators what to do. When I was in North Carolina last week, the dean of the UNC education school told me that the legislature passed laws requiring that students learn cursive writing and memorize the multiplication tables.
It is a good thing the legislators are not telling doctors how to make their diagnoses and conduct surgical procedures.
The rally, organized by education advocacy groups under the banner “Save Texas Schools,” began with a five-block march down Congress Avenue and culminated with an assembly on the south lawn of the Capitol. Speakers included education reform advocates Diane Ravitch, who served as U.S. assistant secretary of education, and former Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott.
“We aren’t providing justice for all when our state Legislature cuts $5.4 billion out of public schools (in 2011) but somehow manages to find $500 million for Pearson Testing Corporation,” said Ravitch, a Houston ISD graduate.
“Texas is the place where the testing madness started, and Texas is the place where the vampire will get garlic in its face and a stake in its heart.”
Scott said tests will always be part of public education, but “they don’t need to be the end-all be-all of our public schools.”
Noted Scott: “I saw the system spinning out of control (as commissioner). We have increased the costs and the consequences at a time that we have cut funding.”
Protesters carried signs reading: “Flunk Governor Perry,” “Stop underfunding and over-testing,” and “We need more teachers, not more tests.”
Perry, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Texas Education Agency Michael Williams were targeted by name.
If Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick thinks school districts have too many unused buildings – and apparently he does – he should look in the mirror. Some new buildings, particularly in fast-growth districts are empty because school districts couldn’t afford to staff and open them after Patrick and his colleagues in the legislative majority cut $5.4 billion from public school budgets two years ago.
In his new leadership position – and with $20 billion in surplus and Rainy Day money for lawmakers to work with – Patrick should be leading the charge to get the funding restored. But, no, he is talking about diverting even more money from public schools to a private school voucher program. And, with SB2, he would lift the cap on charter schools and require school districts to turn over unused buildings to private charter operators for an annual “rent” of $1.
Patrick would take public school buildings, constructed with local tax dollars approved by local voters, and give them to private companies operating charter schools with little or no local oversight.
Several charter school operators and other advocates, of course, testified for SB2 before the Senate Education Committee today. I watched part of the hearing and was struck by how one charter advocate missed the point when he suggested more charters could help Texas address the school dropout problem.
But dropouts aren’t lining up for charter schools. The relevant issue is preventing kids from dropping out in the first place. And, the best way to address that problem is for the state to focus its resources on traditional public schools, which is where the vast majority of children – both those who drop out and those who graduate — attend school. And, remember, the budget cuts for which Patrick voted included full-day, pre-kindergarten and other programs designed specifically to discourage kids from dropping out.
Various studies have shown that charters, on average, are no better or worse than traditional public schools. Some have been successful in Texas, but others have failed miserably – academically, financially or from poor management. This is not the time for the Legislature to give the charter industry a blank check on creating new charters while traditional public schools are still struggling from budget cuts.
Here’s the floor report for HB 10 from the House Research Organization for today. There are eight prefiled amendments. This is the unpaid Medicaid expenses that The Lege decided in 2011 to leave for the 2013 legislature to deal with, so they could pass a so-called balanced budget without raising taxes while still gutting public education.
Some lawmakers may be angling to open up a debate on education funding and other issues when the Texas House takes up a must-pass bill Thursday to pay a giant looming Medicaid IOU this fiscal year.
A handful of amendments have been pre-filed to House Bill 10, including one by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, that would give lawmakers the opportunity to put findings into the bill regarding “inadequate funding” of public schools.
This isn’t what GOP leaders were looking for when they offered, and the House approved, a rule that says if lawmakers want to add money to any program through HB10, they must deduct it from other programs that would be funded in the legislation.
That would be tough, because the bill fills a Medicaid hole and provides money that public schools need to make it through the rest of the fiscal year. There isn’t any extra money floating around in the measure.
Leaders have said they are looking at whether they can put any additional funds into public schools this fiscal year through a separate supplemental spending bill.
The House rule didn’t stop several lawmakers from pre-filing amendments to add money to items including programs for strugglings students, school security and technology, college financial aid and transportation – the latter to take care of roads damaged by increased use or oversize and overweight vehicles related to the energy boom.
Martinez Fischer’s amendment wouldn’t add money, but it has the potential to be a springboard to a lengthy discussion and potentially, some votes on how schools are funded. He and other Democrats have been vehement about the need to quickly address restoration of funding cut from public schools two years ago when Comptroller Susan Combs projected a revenue shortfall. Revenues have come in much higher than her estimate.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, has said HB 10 must pass quickly to ensure health-care providers are paid and patients get treated in the Medicaid program.
The more the Democrats can highlight the GOP’s neglect of things that matter most to working and middle class Texans and show that there is an alternative the more the overall debate will start moving in the right direction.
But Wednesday, Scott, a Republican, pulled a complete turnabout. He said Florida would accept the federal government’s offer of funding, at least for the three years it has promised to pay the entire bill.
The decision “is not a white flag of surrender to government-run health care,” he said. Instead, he called the Medicaid expansion a common-sense solution for real health care problems.
“Quality health care services must be accessible and affordable for all — not just those in certain ZIP codes or tax brackets,” he said at the briefing. “No mother, or father, should despair over whether or not they can afford — or access — the health care their child needs. While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care.”
It’s time for Perry and the wing nuts to wake up. It’s the moral and fiscally responsible thing to do. And it’s a really good deal for Texas.
“We know Gov. Perry is completely out of touch with the reality that’s facing Texans in the area of healthcare,” Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, told the crowd. “He is out of touch with Texans who have to wait until they are so sick they have to go to the emergency room so they can get healthcare.”
A resolution filed by state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) yesterday, which addresses the need to take up school finance sooner rather than later, is making early session news. Kuff does a good job of wrapping up the latest, School districts are still a long way from getting relief.
As expected, Rep. Martinez-Fischer filed HR 408 yesterday to encourage the Lege to appropriate the money it had cut in 2011 without waiting for the Supreme Court to rule. You can read the press statement from MALC here. In his oddball iconoclastic way, Republican Rep. David Simpson is with the Dems on taking action now. More than half of that $8.8 billion in surplus funds from 2011 that resulted from Comptroller Combs’ gross underestimation of available revenue has now been marked to pay our outstanding Medicaid bills, so a full restoration of public ed money would need to involve the Rainy Day fund and/or current revenues, at least in part. That doesn’t make the debate any less worth having, of course. I don’t expect this to actually happen – the Lege will fund enrollment growth, and there may be some funds restored for things like pre-K – but the more we debate it, the better. We can help schools now, we don’t have to wait. It’s our choice.
Any talk of where The Lege stands on defunding public education since 2011 must be looked at in context. It must be looked at through the lens of a conservative movement that has always found public education distasteful at best, and unconstitutional at worst. That’s why last session, for them, was seen as the opportunity of a lifetime to gut public education funding in Texas. And once this issue is understood in that context, it’s easy to see whey they are in absolutely no hurry to reinstate funding for publie education.
It is also why the Texas GOP seems just fine with the fact that Texas Comptroller Susan Combs missed the mark so badly on the revenue estimate in 2011 – opportunity of a lifetime. Here’s how that is stated in HR 408 by Martinez Fischer:
The 2011 revenue estimate was inaccurate and, as a direct result, public schools received an unjustified $5.4 billion dollar budget cut and there is nearly $8.8 billion unspent from last biennium, some of which could be used to help our Texas schools
Republicans, who took to the House floor Monday to say they will make public education a priority, want to wait until the Supreme Court rules before they tackle any school finance changes.
Rep. Brandon Creighton, a Republican from Conroe and chairman of the GOP Caucus, said in a press release that the Democrats’ idea to address school finance before a final court ruling would be like “putting a Band-Aid on a ‘45-year broken leg.’”
Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, said Democrats don’t have the numbers to force a vote.
“They won’t be able to stop the Republicans,” Jones said, but they could score political points by trying to force Republicans to vote in opposition to quickly restoring funding to K-12 education.
The Republican leadership recognizes the trap and will do its best to side-step it. The GOP will also use parliamentary procedure to block votes and argue that rewriting school finance laws while there is ongoing litigation is foolish.
Privately, Republicans say they want to delay any action on school finance for as long as possible and are considering stalling tactics. Abbott can do Republican lawmakers a favor and slow-peddle the appeals process to make sure the lawsuit lasts well into 2014. Then Gov. Rick Perry can call a special legislative session after the 2014 primaries and before the 2014 general election.
Such a special session would allow Republican lawmakers to vote for a school finance overhaul that boosts spending after they’ve made it past the notoriously conservative Republican primary voter. They would also solve the school finance problem before Democrats could attack them for not taking care of public schools, one of the most important issues for the general election voter.
Texas’ system of funding public schools is unconstitutional, state District Judge John Dietz ruled Monday.
Dietz ruled that the state had not provided adequate resources to lift students to the state’s new high standards.
“We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price or we don’t,” Dietz said.
He also found that wide disparities had emerged between school districts that are considered property poor and their wealthier peers. And he said the Legislature had effectively imposed a statewide property tax in violation of the Texas Constitution.
After 12 weeks of trial testimony, Dietz announced his decision from the bench to a packed courtroom and upheld all the major claims by the school districts. A direct appeal to the Texas Supreme Court is expected soon.
Two-thirds of Texas school districts sued the state claiming that the Legislature has failed to live up to its constitutional obligation to provide an “efficient system of public free schools.” Their multitude of claims amount to a culmination of nearly 30 years of school finance litigation.
For the first time, charter schools joined in the school finance litigation and argued that the lack of state funding for classrooms and other school facilities is unconstitutional, as is the current cap limiting the number of new charter operators. Dietz said the the Legislature has discretion over both of those issues and thus did not violate the constitution.
A sixth plaintiff group, called Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, argued that state requirements, such as minimum salary requirements for teachers and the lack of competition render the system inefficient and thus unconstitutional. The Texas Association of Business has joined this lawsuit.
Dietz said the claims by TREE warranted scrutiny by the Legislature but were not in the purview of the court.
The governor unveiled the decision as part of his budget proposal.
“We are going to extend Medicaid for the working poor and for those who are jobless trying to find work,” Kasich said at a press conference in Columbus. “It makes great sense for the state of Ohio because it will allow us to provide greater care with our own dollars.”
The four other Republican governors to back the Medicaid expansion are Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota and Jan Brewer of Arizona. About a dozen GOP governors from red states have rejected the expansion; others from mostly blue and purple states have yet to decide. Democratic governors have broadly embraced it.
“As someone who has advocated for Medicaid expansion from the very beginning, I applaud TMA’s statement that we need to find a way to implement the expansion here in Texas. It’s a great start, and I agree with their position that denying care to over 1 million disabled and low-income Texans is ‘unconscionable.’
However, the devil is in the details. TMA’s proposal that Texas should have more ‘flexibility’ in the Medicaid program is worrisome because of its vagueness. ‘Flexibility’ has long been a code word used by those who only want the ‘flexibility’ to reduce Medicaid services, beneficiaries, or both. Further, it’s unclear whether TMA wants more flexibility in the entire Medicaid program or just the expanded portion. Finally, the federal government already allows for Medicaid flexibility through the 1115 Waiver process, most recently seen in the 1115 Transformation Waiver that allows Texas health providers to continue to receive federal UPL funds after the switch from fee-for-service to managed care.
TMA correctly points out that the low reimbursement rate of Medicaid in Texas has resulted in only 30% of Texas physicians accepting new Medicaid patients, but I want to remind everyone that Medicaid reimbursement rates are set by the Texas State Legislature and the Governor through the appropriations process, not by Washington. We could simply pass a budget that raises them. I’d vote for it. Also, physicians are not the only providers who see Medicaid patients. Advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, and entities such as Federally Qualified Health Centers, county hospital districts, and Accountable Care Organizations will all help fill the gap. Our primary goal should be to ensure that all Texas have access to care, and this is something we can do.
Finally, Texas, not Washington, will decide whether or not we expand Medicaid in this state. Governors across the country of each party are realizing that expanding Medicaid is important and the best policy for their populations; we need to do the same. The bipartisan solution that TMA calls for is already on the table. We just need to take it.”
In a letter today to the legislative leadership, two of the state’s largest religious organizations urged policymakers to extend Medicaid coverage to 1.3 million low-income, uninsured Texans as part of the federal Affordable Care Act; failing that, the organizations called for any proposed alternative to Medicaid be equal in coverage or breadth of eligibility that would have been achieved under that expansion.
The letter, signed by the executive directors of the Texas Catholic Conference and Texas Impact, reminded Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus that “[a]s people of faith, we are called to provide affordable and accessible health care coverage for our sick and dispossessed brothers and sisters.”
“Failing to care for the poor and vulnerable unnecessarily increases sickness, premature death, and needless suffering. It would result in the unnecessary, untimely deaths of an estimated 8,400 low-income Texans every year,” the letter stated.
Read the letter here. Looks like all the bad GOP policy decisions of the last decade are starting to come home to roost.
It’s not just education. There’s an inter-connectedness of education, poverty, and the expansion of Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The GOP members of The Lege have a mixed message on school finance. From an article by Peggy Fikac over the weekend, GOP waits and sees on school funding. When reading this keep in mind that schools talked to The Lege and lobbied hard to keep their funding in 2011.
A state judge is expected to rule next week on whether the school finance system is broken, but lawmakers aren’t anywhere near ready to launch repairs.
Instead, Republican leaders plan to wait for an appeal and a final Texas Supreme Court ruling so they know exactly what they are forced to do.
In a twist, some of their rhetoric seems to suggest school districts have only themselves to blame for the postponement of hopes of restoring funds cut back from education two years ago.
The delay in acting is business-as-usual for the Legislature, which as an institution typically waits as education funding problems get bad enough to prompt a lawsuit by school districts. Then lawmakers wait some more, until the state’s highest court outlines the parameters of the mess they must fix.
Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, said at a hearing last week that lawmakers should pay attention to those who want funding restored for key education programs.
But Williams also stressed the need to weigh that against other education-related funding demands, and he repeated his belief that the ongoing lawsuit makes it difficult for lawmakers to put in additional money for anything other than enrollment growth.
He also seemed to suggest that school districts used the courthouse as an alternative to discussion, odd to those who remember quite a school funding debate in the 2011 legislative session.
“I wish the school districts would sit down and talk to us,” Williams said. “It really ties our hands when they file a lawsuit.”
The reality is, and everyone involved knows it, is that The Lege will not act on school finance unless they’re forced to by the courts. One only has to go back to 2006, the last time they acted on this issue. It’s not in their political interest to act unless they can use the excuse that they were forced to by the courts.
Texas’ high child poverty rate is beginning to make demands on the state’s budget, and experts warn the state needs to spend more on education or the state’s economy could slow.
About 60 percent of Texas children live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census, and many of those children are unprepared and need extra attention when they start school. If they do eventually get into college, the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board says they are relying on a shrinking pool of financial aid.
Public schools and state universities are calling for more money as the state’s Republican leadership pledges to dramatically limit government spending. In 2011, the Legislature reduced funding for public education by $5.4 billion, cut pre-Kindergarten programs and cut funding for college scholarships.
Conservatives argue that low taxes and low government spending have helped the Texas economy grow by leaps and bounds since 2000, but the percentage of Texans living in poverty has grown also. According to 2010 Census data, 15.3 percent of Texans live in poverty and most are under 40 and Hispanic, the fastest growing segment of the Texas population. The poverty rate among Hispanics is 26.8 percent.
Hispanics account for 38 percent of the population and 48.3 percent of Texas children. This same group has the highest percentage of people aged 25 years or older without high school diplomas, at 40.4 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of poor students has gone up 45.9 percent to 2.85 million children.
A report issued today provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the costs and benefits to local taxing authorities (including cities, counties and hospital districts) and state government if the Legislature chooses to extend Medicaid benefits to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Click here to read the full report.
Texas Impact Executive Director Bee Moorhead said, “Our analysis shows conclusively that extending Medicaid to low-income adults is the smart, affordable and fair choice for the state–and that passing up this opportunity will place local taxpayers, low-income Texans, and the entire state health care system at a significant disadvantage going forward.”
The report demonstrates that local property taxpayers and hospital charity programs already spend about six times as much on low-income health care as it would cost the state to extend Medicaid coverage to adults who have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)–$15,415 for a single adult and $31,809 for a family of four. Under the Affordable Care Act, Texas could cover adults aged 18 to 64 whose incomes are below 138 percent FPL, with the federal government paying an average of 90 percent of the cost of coverage for low-income adults over the next ten years.
“For years, Texas has had the highest uninsured rate in the country, with 6 million Texans lacking health insurance. Now we have a chance to change that, and there is no excuse for any other course of action than extending Medicaid to low-income adults,” said Kevin C. Moriarty, President and CEO, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.
Certainly bringing down the amount of children, and adults, without health care would lower the number of Texans in poverty. Which will in turn improve the education of Texas children. It’s time for Texas, for all it’s boasting of prosperity, to make sure that all Texans are prospering.
Republican leaders heading into the new legislative session say they are in no hurry to undo billions of dollars in cuts to public schools made two years ago.
Despite pressure from teacher groups and others, top lawmakers cited holes they must patch in the current budget, a general caution about higher spending and a desire to see how courts rule in the latest suit over how the state funds education.
Many school districts, pointing to an improved Texas economy, are seeking relief. But key budget-writers say the initial two-year plan they’ll unveil soon won’t replace the $5.4 billion the last Legislature sliced from state maintenance and operation aid and discretionary grants.
That means no substantial help to handle bigger classes and no restored grants for half-day prekindergarten and remedial instruction, decisions that are expected to rekindle tensions with school advocates calling for more money.
“The introduced bill won’t have that,” though it may include an additional $1 billion or so to cover student enrollment growth, said Rep. Jim Pitts, the Waxahachie Republican who heads the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.
Pitts said he expects Comptroller Susan Combs’ two-year revenue estimate, which limits what lawmakers can spend, “to be pretty conservative, and so we’re being very conservative.”
Sen. Tommy Williams, who recently became chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he’s skeptical of claims by teacher organizations that the cuts have “devastated” schools.
Some Republicans’ patience with superintendents and district officials may be wearing thin.
“I don’t like it, I’m not crazy about the school districts’ suing the state,” Williams said. “They’d be a lot better served if they’d come down here and try to work this out.”
Linda Bridges, president of the Texas AFT teachers’ union, said the education lobby decided not to sue before the 2011 session and was hammered with budget cuts.
She said some classrooms today have as many as 40 children, and grants have been eliminated for programs to improve student success, even as lawmakers demand reductions in dropout rates and higher test scores.
The Legislature, whether run by Democrats or Republicans, rarely has boosted spending in great numbers without a court edict threatening the unthinkable, such as closure of the state’s more than 9,000 public schools, Bridges said.
“It doesn’t seem they know how to respond to issues like this without being forced to by a court,” she said.
Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, said GOP leaders probably are posturing, comparing it to the initial House proposal two years ago for $9 billion in school cuts.
“The story became the restoration of some of the cuts instead of focusing on how can we cut $5.4 billion from education in a school system that we’re holding to higher and higher standards,” said Strama, a member of the Public Education Committee.
“That was actually a smart political strategy to sell a dumb public policy.”
Strama said Republican leaders may ease up some when a final budget starts taking shape.
Don’t count on it, though, said Rep. Charles Perry, a Lubbock Republican who, with tea party support, upset an ally to Speaker Joe Straus two years ago — and then beat him again in a primary rematch this year.
“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “We’re not going to do any restoration.”
Strama is right about the ploy from last session – propose deep cuts at first, and then lessen those cuts in the end to make them look better. But the GOP has no intention of ever putting that money back. It will take another party in power to put that money back.
The Texas GOP haven’t spent decades gaining control of our state government, starting to implement their agenda, just to start rolling it back once the economy improves. The only thing that will restore public education in Texas will be changing who we elect in Texas.
Pimentel at the Express-News on what vouchers will do to Texas public education, Choice program is a suicide pact for schools. Suffice it to say that the jury is still out on vouchers, as far as whether they’re a solution or will just cause more problems. No matter how they’re structured they are likely to take money from public education. And, as noted below, an accountability mechanism will need to be setup.
But the main thing he points to is this:
The Texas Constitution. Here’s what Article 7, Section I says, after a brief preamble about the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people: “It shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”
It’s hard to make the case that public funds to private schools constitute an “efficient system of public free schools,” particularly since it’s an open question whether these private scholarships for low-income children will cover full tuition at these private schools.
Of course, some schools may simply write off the balance but others may not. If they don’t, how is this “free?” And if there is a balance to pay, how is this a program for low-income children?
And as he points out any “pilot program” is just a wedge for further expansion of vouchers in the future. The point is, putting government money into a private system, is unlikely to make our system of public free schools more efficient. And it’s not clear the votes in the Texas House will be there, Clash over vouchers comes down to vastly different views on Texas schools.
Democrats in the House and Senate will likely line up against all private school voucher and tuition tax credit bills, but they are in the minority in both chambers.
Rural GOP lawmakers also have also been cool to vouchers in the past.
In 2007, the House voted overwhelmingly to ban use of state funds for private schools — an action that halted all discussion of vouchers in Texas until now.
While Perry and Dewhurst, leader of the Senate, have signaled their support for expanded school choice, House Speaker Joe Straus is taking a more cautious approach, citing previous battles in the House over vouchers.
“If there is not a broad consensus on the issue, then I don’t see a House voucher bill coming” up for a vote, said Straus, R-San Antonio.
“That’s not to say there isn’t a possibility that we can work on an expanded school choice program of some sort. But I want to avoid a scene on the floor over a voucher bill that is not broadly supported.”
One reason vouchers are being pushed so hard, more than likely, is that people already sending their children to private school would like some of their tax money to go to their children’s tuition. What’s lost in all of this is that “vouchers” or “choice” still does not solve any of the problems with public school finance. And the issues with how the public is being educated has more to do with poverty, then anything else.
Most private schools don’t want public school cast offs – like special needs or poor kids filling their schools. They would, more than likely, just take from the cream of the crop from public education. And public education is the only entity that has the means to deal with the masses. What this will likely lead to is a class based education system.
Which leads us back to what public education should be. Public education takes a commitment from the public – parents, teachers, grand parents and those without children in school. It’s something we choose to do today as a society, educate all children, so everyone we all have a better future. Vouchers are the wrong choice.
The 83rd Legislature may consider introducing school vouchers, including using public money to pay private school tuition for some Texas school children. Such a program could be targeted to low-income or special-needs students or those who attend low-performing schools. A related issue for debate could be providing tax credits for businesses that contribute scholarships for certain students to attend qualifying private schools. Proposals may impose state testing and accountability requirements on private schools receiving public money. [Emphasis added]
Yes, that’s right, the taxpayers of Texas are going to want accountability, to know what their money is being on and if their money is being spent well. Do private schools really want the state of Texas becoming involved in their business? For all the bluster the right wing has about getting government out of everything, it seems so unlike them to be putting forth a proposal that will allow the government to stick it’s nose in private education.
Private schools have always had autonomy from the government accountability that public schools have always had. But blurring the line between public and private education will end all of that. That surely looks like a deal breaker.