By now you might have seen (see below if you haven't) the video of state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, yelling at children from the Richardson Independent School District who don't want their public schools defunded to pay for one of Huffines' pet causes: private school vouchers. Read More
You might think it would be difficult for the Texas Republican Party to lurch even further to the political right. But you would be wrong, especially when it comes to public education.
Wealthy real estate and car dealership magnate Don Huffines’ narrow defeat of incumbent state Sen. John Carona in their Republican Primary last month could be a big blow for supporters of public schools in Texas. Carona has held the Dallas-area Senate district’s seat since he was first elected in 1996. He has long been an opponent of private school vouchers, which divert tax dollars from public schools to private and religious schools.
Huffines, who campaigned as a tea party Republican, tells Dallas public radio station KERA that he supports “certain types of vouchers.” Among those “types” is the tax-credit voucher scheme pushed by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, last year. Such backdoor voucher schemes create tax breaks for businesses that contribute money to “scholarship” programs for students who attend private schools. Those tax breaks lower funding available for public schools.
Moreover, even Gov. Perry’s former state education commissioner, Robert Scott, has warned that “the potential for fraud is incredible” with these tax-credit voucher schemes. In