Texas Education Board Candidates Say: Government Shouldn't Be Responsible for Educating Kids!

You might think that all of the candidates seeking election to the body that oversees the public education system in Texas would actually support public education. But candidate answers in a religious-right group’s voter guide this month suggest you would be wrong.

At least three Republican candidates — including one incumbent — in this year’s Texas State Board of Education elections say they “strongly disagree” that “it is the government’s responsibility to be sure children are properly educated.” The same candidates also say they “strongly agree” that “free market competition for education dollars” would be better than a “government monopoly.” “Free market competition” is the core argument for advocates of private school vouchers, which take tax dollars from public schools to pay tuition for students admitted to private and religious schools.

District 7 incumbent David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, and District 11 Republican candidates Eric Mahroum and Lady Theresa Thombs, both of Fort Worth, all take those positions in the voter guide from Texas Values. Texas Values is the Austin-based lobby arm of Liberty Institute, a religious-right litigation group headquartered in Plano north of Dallas. (Actually, it appears that the voter guide is part of a nationally coordinated project by religious-right groups to survey candidates for office across the country. Or at least Republican candidates — candidates in Democratic primaries aren’t featured in the Texas Values voter guide. Republican candidates unopposed in their GOP primary also weren’t surveyed.)

Bradley faces Rita Ashley in the District 7 Republican primary. Ashley apparently did not respond to the voter guide questionnaire — her answers are blank. (That didn’t seem to matter. The voter guide describes her as “somewhat liberal” anyway. Talk about “guiding” voters, right?) Mahroum and Thombs are challenging incumbent Pat Hardy. Hardy said she “strongly agrees” that government has a responsibility to make sure children are properly educated. She also “strongly disagrees” with siphoning tax dollars from public schools to private schools.

Bradley was among nine State Board of Education candidates who rejected government’s responsibility for educating Texas children in a voter guide for the November 2012 general election. Six of those candidates now serve on the board: Bradley; Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands; Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio; Donna Bahorich, R-Houston; Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas; and Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo. Miller faces Democratic and Libertarian opponents in November but has no challenger in the GOP primary. The other board members, other than Bradley, are not up for re-election this year.

In rejecting government responsibility for ensuring that all children get an education, all of those candidates and board members are at odds with great Americans like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as well as Article 7, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution:

SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE OF SYSTEM OF PUBLIC FREE SCHOOLS. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to 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.

16 thoughts on “Texas Education Board Candidates Say: Government Shouldn't Be Responsible for Educating Kids!

  1. State funding should be for Public schools only. Religious, charter and private schools should not get tax dollars! I don’t pay taxes for privately owned schools.

    If parents want their kids to be taught in non standard schools then they can pay for it. But None ofY tax $$$.

    1. Ester,
      First, let’s define where state funding comes from – We the People, through taxes levied upon us. Second, the State is already using State funding for schools other than public – read about charter schools, particularly, Harmony Science Academy.
      I do choose to pay for my children to go to private school, however, I also pay for public education, through school property taxes. I understand it is my choice to pay out of my own pocket each year for my two children to attend a private school, but I also pay a significant amount to public education through school taxes on my personal residence. In addition to taxes levied upon my home, I also pay even more significant amounts of school taxes levied on my businesses. We who chose to private school our children aren’t asking for the government to fund our choice to private school. We simply want to be able to keep and use our tax dollars we pay on our homes to be used towards our choice of education, rather than it be used to continually feed a broken bureaucracy that puts emphasis on sports, stadiums, buildings and other things other than the actual education of children. If you asked a lot of us who private school we would even be happy if we only got 50% of our tax dollars to put towards our choice of schooling for our children. Please understand that we are not asking the State (We the People) to fund our personal Choice, we are just asking for us to be able to use our personal tax dollars or a portion thereof, towards our Choice of education.

      1. Just about every private school voucher scheme that has been proposed in Texas would involve subsidizing private school tuition at levels far higher than most individuals pay in school taxes. Otherwise low-income families still wouldn’t be able to send their children to a voucher school. So hundreds of millions of tax dollars (perhaps billions) each year would be siphoned from neighborhood public schools and sent instead to private and religious schools that aren’t accountable to taxpayers.

  2. This is the final desperate cry and grab for control by the fringe religious conservatives. They see a growing progressive movement, and fear their throne is in jeopardy for good. Bring on the good.

    1. I take great joy in the fact that most of these fringe reigious conservatives are old people who will be dying off soon from assorted natural causes. History in future times will show that a percentage of the “Baby Boom” generation was holding on to the last vestiges of their bigoted past: Christian fundamentalism, housewives, racism, low pay for women, haters of the poor and sick…

      Those who remain behind on Earth will then be able to live a better life (to quote Don Henley) “in a world untouched by them.”

  3. Yeah… Because we can totally rely on all parents providing a wholesome and well-rounded practical education for the real world their child will flop into at 18–er 26–er whenever they can afford to live on their own. There are parents out there that allow the television or the Internet to raise and educate their kids. Public education benefits everyone, when it isn’t being corrupted, mismanaged or stripped of funding by political bastards trying to fund their global murder campaigns.

  4. Politicians educated by the “government” use their educations to seek a government job of improving education so that they can stop education because they hate the government. I’ll give them this, I guess they ARE a good example of bad “government” education. Also, I assume they will accept no payment for these jobs, eschewing the government and it’s filthy lucre as they do.

  5. These republicans’ goal is to privatize (sell) a public asset to the biggest private campaign donors. Why on earth would they support public education?