Texas SBOE Majority Betrays Millions of Public School Students

February 3, 2023

Contact: Imelda Mejia, 512-212-1758, [email protected]

AUSTIN, Texas – In a reversal of their vote in November, the Texas State Board of Education has voted to remove its previous recommendation to the Legislature opposing private school vouchers.

This week’s vote by the State Board of Education’s Republican majority to reverse the board’s previous bipartisan opposition to voucher legislation is a betrayal of the millions of children who attend Texas public schools, Texas Freedom Network Political Director Carisa Lopez said today.

“They have turned their backs on the very students the state Constitution and our laws task them with helping to educate,” Lopez said. “If the board won’t oppose efforts to defund and privatize neighborhood public schools that educate the vast majority of Texas students, then it has clearly lost its way. The purpose of public schools is to make sure every student, regardless of who they are or how much money they have, gets a quality education that prepares them to succeed and become informed citizens. It’s cowardly for this board to stay neutral when those schools are under constant political attack from fringe conspiracy theorists and even state leaders who want to defund them.”

A large, bipartisan majority of state board members voted in November to include opposition to vouchers in the board’s list of recommendations for the current legislative session. But Republican board members abandoned that opposition to vouchers Thursday. The board confirmed that decision in a final, formal vote today.

The state board’s stunning reversal comes just days after Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to a Corpus Christi private academy to call for lawmakers to pass a voucher scheme.

“With reelection behind him, Gov. Abbott’s contempt for public education seems to be reaching full fury now,” Lopez said. “For the past two years the governor has recklessly attacked our public schools and the teachers there who work hard to educate millions of Texas children. Now he has gone to a Christian academy to call for diverting tax dollars from our neighborhood schools to subsidize religious and private schools that aren’t accountable to taxpayers at all. Someone should remind Gov. Abbott that he was elected to serve all Texas families, not exclusive academies that get to pick and choose which students to admit into their classrooms.”