Our opposition to private school voucher schemes apparently angers “Linda,” who wrote us earlier today. We won’t publish her full name or email address — we’re polite that way. But here’s her email to us:

You either have no kids in the Texas public school system or you are just stupid or a lib which is one in the same.

 public schools are an evil force run by and dictated to by an evil government.

We want better for our kids than to be brainwashed by liberal nonsense that have no moral values and no character building teaching.

Public schools teach that it is good to be a queer when it is written in our Holy Bible very clearly that it is a sin. you libs are advocating anything that is unethical, unlawful and just plain lies.

I will do what ever I can do to get all Texas kids that want out of the horrid public school to have school vouchers and a school of their choice. one that teaches not only the basic education that should be taught but also builds character, honor and ethics.

OK then.

We’re often fascinated… Read More

As the Senate Education Committee hears testimony on three reckless private school voucher bills, we just sent out the following press release:

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today called proposed bills under consideration in the Senate Education Committee today reckless and even cynical schemes to shift funding from neighborhood public schools to private and religious schools.

“We’ve seen lawmakers set up our neighborhood public schools to fail by cutting billions of dollars in their funding and then insisting that they do more with less,” Miller said. “Now some of the same lawmakers are pushing voucher schemes that would ultimately take away billions more to subsidize private and religious schools that aren’t even accountable to taxpayers. Enough is enough. They have to stop insisting that taxpayers essentially fund two separate school systems instead of focusing on paying for the public schools that educate the vast majority of Texas children.”

The Senate Education Committee is hearing public testimony today on three private school voucher bills, SB 4, SB 276 and SB 642. A fiscal analysis from the Coalition for Public Schools, of which the Texas Freedom Network is a member, shows that the… Read More

Powerful interests pushing private school voucher schemes in Texas are launching today what might be their strongest attack on neighborhood public schools in years. The Senate Education Committee is hearing public testimony on three proposed voucher bills — each one of which could end up draining billions of dollars from public education to subsidize tuition at private and religious schools.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller will testify at the hearing and remind senators that their responsibility under the Texas Constitution is to fund public schools, not private and religious schools. Yet the Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education just four years ago and has yet to restore all of that funding.

Each of the bills under consideration today creates a different voucher scheme but does essentially the same thing: drain tax dollars from funding for neighborhood public schools so that the state can subsidize — directly or indirectly — private and religious schools.

SB 4 by state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and SB 642 by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, would give tax breaks to corporations that donate to organizations providing “tuition grants” or “scholarships” at private and religious schools. Every dollar that funds these corporate tax loopholes would be unavailable for… Read More

On Wednesday anti-public education politicians rallied behind a proposed new voucher scheme to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars each year from neighborhood public schools to private and religious schools in Texas. Those funding transfers would come on top of billions in funding cuts to public schools passed by the Legislature in 2011 — cuts lawmakers still haven’t fully restored.

State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-San Antonio, has filed Senate Bill 276, which would create so-called “taxpayer savings grants” that subsidize tuition at private and religious schools. The funds behind those subsidies would be taken from public schools — the so-called “savings” to taxpayers. Her legislation is backed by Dan Patrick, the incoming Republican lieutenant governor.

The Coalition for Public Schools, of which the Texas Freedom Network is a member, sent out the following press release on Wednesday:

A proposed new private school voucher scheme, a so-called “taxpayer savings grant,” represents a massive tax-giveaway that would drain hundreds of millions of dollars each year from neighborhood public schools to subsidize tuition at private and religious schools, mostly benefiting wealthy families.

Charles Luke, coordinator for the Coalition for Public Schools, notes several major flaws to Sen. Donna Campbell’s voucher scheme, Senate Bill 276.

“Senator Campbell’s proposal would pose yet… Read More

It’s always good to see folks in responsible positions refuse to play games with far-right fanatics who substitute ignorant, facts-free ideology for honest research and expertise. So we enjoyed reading a particular section of state District Judge John Dietz’s opinion on Thursday that the public school finance system in Texas violates the state Constitution.

The case is almost certainly headed to the Texas Supreme Court down the road. And Judge Dietz’s opinion is long — nearly 400 pages. But check out pages 335-336 of that opinion.

In his lengthy list of “Findings of Fact,” Judge Dietz rips into wild and unsubstantiated claims that the head of the right-wing, corporate-funded Heartland Institute, Joseph Bast, made when he testified in the case last year. The Heartland Institute argues, among other things, that the overwhelming scientific evidence on the growing threat of global climate change is wrong. It also supports voucher schemes that take funding from neighborhood public schools to subsidize tuition at private and religious schools instead.

In his January 2013 testimony in the school finance base, Bast claimed that the Texas Taxpayers’ Savings Grant Program, a voucher scheme that failed to pass the Texas Legislature in 2011, would save the state about $2 billion over the first two years. As Dietz… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

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