Monday, January 30, 2017

Texas Senate holds Educational Freedom press conference

"Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life."
Proverbs 4:13

[Author's Note: You can view the press conference in it's entirety here.]

Senator Larry Taylor filed SB 3 this morning.  The bill gives parents greater control over funds the socialized education bureaucracy was going to spend no matter what.  We took notes and will refer readers to the linked video above if they want to view the conference in it's entirety.
  • Senator Larry Taylor:
    • Parents will receive between 60% and 90% of what the state spends per student on a sliding scale based on income.
    • Competition from Education Savings Accounts will force the socialized education bureaucracy "to up their game."
    • Result of the bill will be more funding per student for school districts.
    • 30 other states already have school choice programs.
      • Author's Note: And they tend to be wildly popular even in liberal states.
    • The worst school districts are the ones that will fight parental choice the hardest.
  • Lt. Governor Patrick:
    • People are surprised when they learn approximately half the state budget goes to education.
    • House needs to give the bill a vote and let the chips fall where they may.
    • OVERWHELMING Majority of home-school families support this legislation; while the concerns of those with objections are valid, ultimately we're talking about a voluntary program in which they don't have to participate.
      • Author's Note: It's also worth pointing out that homeschoolers are already subject to testing (the SAT's) if they want to attend any college within the system.
  • Senator Don Huffines:
    • Competition lowers prices and increases quality.
  • (Parent) Melissa Bofinger:
    • Her local ISD does a good job educating her daughter, but doesn't meet the needs of her autistic son.
    • Author's Note: We know Melissa personally, so we know the ISD in question and we'll just leave it at this...if her relatively affluent ISD can't accommodate her son with special needs, imagine what it means in less wealthy parts of the state.
After the press conference, the Lt. Governor released this additional statement:

TPPF released the following statement:

TPPF Statement on
Education Savings Account Legislation

AUSTIN –Texas Public Policy Foundation President & CEO Brooke Rollins, Executive Vice President Dr. Kevin Roberts, TPPF’s Center for Education Freedom Senior Policy Advisor Stephanie Matthews, and Senior Visiting Fellow Peggy Venable issued the following statements today on legislation that would establish education savings accounts in Texas. The bill, Senate Bill 3, was announced today by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and introduced by Texas Senator Larry Taylor, Chairman of the Texas Senate Committee on Education.

          “Twenty-eight years ago, this Foundation was established with one goal in mind: to achieve education freedom for all Texas students and families” TPPF President and CEO Brooke Rollins said. “The legislation announced by the Lieutenant Governor means this dream may finally become a reality in this legislative session.”

          “Education freedom is a top priority for the Foundation, and more importantly, for the future of Texas,” said TPPF Executive Vice President Dr. Kevin Roberts. “Parents deserve the right to choose the best education for their children. This legislation, if the 85th Legislature enacts it, will ensure that every Texas child is given the opportunity to succeed.”

          “With over 60 school choice programs operating in 30 states, plus Washington, D.C., Texas is long overdue to expand educational options for desperate families,” said Senior Policy Advisor Stephanie Matthews, of TPPF’s Center for Education Freedom. “We are grateful for the strong leadership and support from the Lt. Governor, and believe this will be the Session to finally pass Education Savings Accounts.”

          “Far too many Texas children are assigned to failing schools by virtue of their zip code. Senate Bill 3 embodies the Texas spirit of individual freedom and opportunity,” said Senior Visiting Fellow Peggy Venable. “This important legislation empowers parents to direct their children’s education and provides opportunity for all Texas students to succeed.”

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s work on Education Savings Accounts is available here:

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