House Bill 2: It’s About More Than Money

House Bill 2: It’s About More Than Money

House Education Overhaul Bill Includes Provisions for Privatization and Lowering Standards that Would Undermine Neighborhood Public Schools

March 1, 2005

AUSTIN While debate over public education has largely focused on finance measures, House Bill 2 includes other provisions that would undermine the state’s neighborhood public schools, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“Legislators need to keep their eyes on the goal: making sure all Texas kids have access to top-notch neighborhood schools,” TFN President Kathy Miller said.
“As they have rightly done in past sessions, legislators should reject efforts to lower standards and turn schools over to private, for-profit companies.”

One provision in H.B. 2 would allow exemplary schools to ignore quality education standards like small class sizes, teacher certification and early reading intervention that have helped students make progress over the past two decades, Miller said.

“It makes no sense to let exemplary schools ignore the very education standards that helped their students succeed in the first place,” Miller said. “Legislators should instead be using those schools as models to reinforce standards across the state and ensure that all Texas kids have access to exemplary neighborhood schools.”

Another provision in the bill would allow private companies to run low-performing public schools. Studies have shown, however, that many public schools run by private education companies have a poor record of improving academic performance.

“Children in troubled schools deserve the best we can offer,” Miller said. “Turning students over to a risky business enterprise like private education companies with poor academic track records is not the answer.”