Texas Senate Mugs Public Schools, Gives Preliminary Approval to Private School Vouchers

Today the Texas Senate mugged the state’s public schools and their millions of students by providing preliminary approval to a reckless private school voucher bill. But the debate revealed some dirty truths that voucher supporters would prefer folks not know about the bill.

Senators gave approval to Senate Bill 4 on second reading. SB 4 would give tax credits to wealthy interests that provide vouchers subsidizing tuition at private and religious schools. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement:

“Neighborhood public schools and the millions of Texas kids who attend them just got mugged on the floor of the Texas Senate. The Senate should have fully restored the billions of dollars this Legislature cut from our neighborhood schools just four years ago. But instead they gave preliminary approval to a reckless and unaccountable voucher scheme that provides tax breaks for wealthy interests that take funds from public education in order to subsidize private and religious schools. The Texas Legislature is charged with providing a quality education for every child in our state. It seems today our senators forgot their obligation.”

The Senate vote was 17-13 in favor of SB 4. Final passage requires a third reading, which will probably follow in the next day or so.

In the lead up to the vote, the Senate debate and rejected a series of amendments:

  • One amendment would have barred private schools that take the tax-subsidized vouchers from discriminating against students. So SB 4 opens the door to tax-subsidized discrimination based on characteristics such as race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.
  • Another amendment would have ensured that students with disabilities who use these tax-subsidized vouchers receive the same rights and services in private schools that they would in public schools.
  • Yet another amendment would have required private schools taking tax-subsidized vouchers to meet the same education standards public schools must meet.

Republicans who supported SB 4 voted down all of those amendments. But the debate revealed dirty truths about government-subsidized private school vouchers. Private schools that take these vouchers can discriminate against students and their families for any reason. They don’t have to meet the same standards to which public schools are held. And students with disabilities are left out in the cold.

Angry by the Senate’s mugging of public education? Make sure your senator hears about it before the Senate votes on SB 4 in third reading. Click here to find the name of your senator and his or her contact information.

8 thoughts on “Texas Senate Mugs Public Schools, Gives Preliminary Approval to Private School Vouchers

  1. WTF is pretty much all I can say. However, I do so sincerely hope that this blows up in the face of all of those teaevangelicals that voted for these narcissistic assholes.

  2. The TEAliban, formerly GOP, legislators are cutting our children’s throats in a continuation of their plans to turn the United States into a fascist state.

    Gutting education is one of the first things that fascist states do, and this state has been among the worst states when it comes to education.

    The TEAliban’s aim is to turn this country from a Republic to fascism within 20 years. Read how the fascists acted in the 20th century.

    1. Sadly, few Americans have have any conception of fascism. The fascists have managed to pervert language to such an extent that Liberals – always the mortal enemy of all fascists – are now considered to be fascists. And it was so easy for them: They did this with total control of AM radio for 20 years and one book. Further, due to foolishness such as “Godwin’s Law,” the left have abdicated their role in public discussions of fascism.

  3. What I don’t understand is the fact that there is no guarantee that a private school will accept these students. Also, if a school is that bad doesn’t the TEA already impose penalties and intervention solutions.

    It isn’t only the TEAevangelicals.

    1. And, those who voted for them do not realize the full ramifications of this voucher system. Besides the Discrimination there is also the fact that they do not have the same rules to follow as the Public Schools. In many cases, the students do the same or worse in the private/religious schools.

  4. The irony, of course, is that none of this is about the kids. Do you really think that Louie and Donna Dumbunny are going to send their little spawn to the Honor Roll School at $12,000 per kid per year? To make things worse for the Dumbunny family, little Bubba and Tiffany have to score well on a test and an interview just to get admitted! Too bad, so sad.

    No, the voucher program benefits the private schools and businesses looking for tax breaks and the politicians in their pockets.

    1. Thank you. Our Legislature has just made it clear what their intentions are and the public thinks they have a winner. The voucher does NOT pay the total cost so most students who might otherwise be eligible still can not afford private schools. In the meantime, Private schools, Corporations, and Politicians are making out like bandits. The biggest loser–our PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS and many of the voters who chose these politicians.

  5. People need to put their political beliefs aside and focus on what is best for our children. Parents are not going to allow their children who private schools to get an inferior education. I have a special needs child and the public education system is failing him. Segregation is something we opposed as a country. Why are we doing this to our special needs children in public schools? They are segregated into “special classrooms.” Why have one teacher for multiple grades? If this is a good idea then why aren’t general education children in the same academic model? Parents need to choose the school that will best meet their child’s needs. Give me a choice. I’m tired of footing the bill and having others with a crystal clear political agenda decide how and where my money is spent. I’m going to do what is best for my son… period.