CONTACT: For press inquiries, to set up interviews or to sign up for e-mail press releases, please e-mail TFN Communications Director Dan Quinn or call 512-322-0545.
Committee Substituted Voucher Bill Sneaks Through Committee At Closed Meeting On House Floor FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 14, 2003
Austin, TX Chairman Kent Grusendorf called an impromptu meeting of the House Public Education Committee at his desk on the House floor this morning and hurriedly passed out a modified Senate Bill that includes a provision for a pilot Private School Voucher Program.
The original version of S.B. 976 establishes a Middle College Education Pilot Program for students at-risk of dropping out, but a committee substitute, offered by Chairman Grusendorf, was rewritten and hastily presented at the last minute to committee members.
“This is just another desperate move to push an unpopular idea that would harm Texas’ public schools,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates against vouchers.
This is the second time a voucher bill has passed through Chairman Grusendorf’s committee at a meeting held at his desk. On April 3, Grusendorf called an unplanned meeting and passed out his controversial voucher bill, H.B. 2465.… Read More
Groups Decry “Home-Rule” Bill That Eliminates Class Size, Curriculum, All Education Standards FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2003
Austin, TX Student learning would suffer under proposed rollbacks of education standards, said a coalition of fifteen public interest groups on Monday.
“While public school finance and the $1.4 billion education cuts are grabbing headlines, the biggest threat to public schools is making a stealth advance through the legislature,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors public education issues. “House Bill 859 would eliminate virtually all state education standards and wipe out decades of academic progress in one fell swoop.”
Scheduled for a vote in the Texas House on Monday, House Bill 859 would allow any Texas school district to convert itself to “home-rule” and thus be exempt from virtually all state education standards, including class size, curriculum, teacher certification and training, minimum teacher qualifications, parental rights, dropout prevention, after-school programs, remedial and accelerated instruction, educator rights and benefits, school day length, school year length, assessment of students with disabilities, and even some anti-discrimination and religious freedom provisions.
“We’re here to take a stand against House Bill 859, one of the most wide-reaching and potentially devastating education… Read More
Texas House Votes Down Dangerous “Virtual” Schools Bill; Senate Approves Similar Measure FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 23, 2003
Austin, TX Public education narrowly avoided a major blow today when the Texas House voted not to create a “virtual” charter schools program, said the Texas Freedom Network.
“Last week, the House slashed $1.4 billion in state education funding, and yet some politicians have continued to push initiatives that would siphon billions more out of public schools,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network.
“Last week, state leaders said we needed to tighten state purse strings and the House slashed state education spending by $1.4 billion,” said Smoot. “Why these same leaders are now pushing expensive new education programs is beyond me.”
“This ‘virtual’ schools program is a boondoggle the state is right to avoid,” said Smoot.… Read More
Torrent Of Bad Education Bills Rips Through Legislature; Leadership Puts Ideology Ahead Of Students, Fiscal CrisisShare
Torrent Of Bad Education Bills Rips Through Legislature; Leadership Puts Ideology Ahead Of Students, Fiscal Crisis April 22, 2003
Austin, TX Ideological agendas have displaced sound public policy and the best interest of Texas students at the Texas Capitol, as the legislature considers a litany of anti-public education bills this week, said the Texas Freedom Network.
“Last week, the House slashed $1.4 billion in state education funding, and now politicians are pushing initiatives that would siphon billions more out of public schools,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network. “Count them: a billion dollar voucher program, free textbooks for private school students, and a ‘virtual’ schools program where the state would buy a home computer and printer for untold numbers of homeschooled and private school students.”
“Not only are these bills bad for our neighborhood public schools, they simply defy reason,” said Smoot. “Instead of responsibly addressing our budget deficit and school funding needs, the politicians in charge are putting their pet ideological projects ahead of Texas students.”… Read More
Voucher Bill Sneaks Through Committee At Closed Meeting On House Floor FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 3, 2003
Austin, TX Chairman Kent Grusendorf called an impromtu meeting of the House Public Education Committee at his desk on the House floor this morning and hurriedly passed out his controversial voucher bill, H.B. 2465.
For the next two years, H.B. 2465 would create a private school voucher program in Texas school districts with more than 40,000 students, in which a majority of the students are eligible for the federal free and reduced price lunch program.
Starting in 2005, the voucher “pilot” program would be open to any school district and any child, thus making the more than 4 million public and charter school school students in Texas 1,040 school districts eligible for a voucher.
“It’s no surprise that this bill was snuck through at a closed meeting on the floor, given the unpopularity of vouchers and the drastic nature of this bill,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates against vouchers.… Read More