Texas moves forward to defund public schools in favor of “school choice”

Mar 23, 2017

State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, chair of the Senate Education Committee, directs a witness during testimony on March 21, 2017.
Credit Bob Daemmerich / The Texas Tribune

Yesterday the Texas Senate Education Committee passed legislation to open the door to what has become known as “School Choice.” As The Texas Tribune reports, the new bill would pay tax dollars to  parents, to be used for private school tuition and homeschooling expenses.

The bill passed by a vote of 7-3, with the Republicans on the committee voting in favor. The measure will now head to the full Senate, where it’s also expected to pass. The legislation has long been a priority for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Supporters say government oversight of public schools will not be necessary, as parents will take their kids out of schools that aren’t performing well.

Opponents of the effort say you can’t trust the free market to ensure a good education, as it’s in the best interest of private businesses to cut corners—especially when there’s no oversight.

If passed, the law is expected to drain funding from public schools.