On January 30th, coinciding with “National School Choice Week,” various advocates of destroying public schools and pouring common resources into privately run schools will make their voices heard in Austin. It’s really unnecessary, since the state has been hard at work, particularly in the last four years, doing away with public education. And the problem is not charter schools per se, as many of are in fact public, but the ridiculously lax education and financial oversight in Republican-dominated politics.
If anyone is being honest, these school choicers don’t have a charter model they’re very excited about helping Texan children with. Many would be perfectly happy if all education were private — and that’s what this is really about. These people want to kill the idea that public education can work or heaven forbid, should be improved to work better.
“With more than 250,000 students enrolled in private schools across Texas it’s important to our association that parents have choices when it comes to their child’s education,” Laura Colangelo, Executive Director of the Texas Private Schools Association, said in a statement. “By participating in National School Choice Week we’re showcasing our support for increasing the amount of educational options in Texas and spotlighting the great opportunities afforded to students who attend one of the many private schools in our state.”
“Choice” means destroying the the public school model: parents’ having sufficient local resources based on adequate state and federal investment depending on their child’s needs. In evidenced reality, the federal government should entirely provide for education funding, and uphold strict national standards to ensure classroom excellence. That’s how the countries with the best education systems do it.
Rally participant George P. Bush apparently wants to make education a big issue for the…Land Commissioner’s office. Rarely has a Texas politician been less interested in the position currently occupied. Maybe all those mineral rights disputes will be solved by denying kids the robust public school model that produces the world’s best students. Or maybe Bush’s handful of days managing state lands has made Bush want to reduce his workload by cutting out public schools! All jokes, but then again, so is this guy’s presence at this rally.
The new Legislature is now open, but not to students’ needs. They’re not going to increase school funds; they’re on this rally’s side. Texas’ fast-growing school districts are bursting and desperately need new facilities. Who cares! Texas has the worst SAT scores in more than two decades, and ranks in the bottom five nationally for school funding. Who cares! Last summer, a Texas judge ruled that the state is criminally underfunding schools. Who cares! These legislators are actually pushing for more tax cuts over any potential increased investment in Texas’ future.
If only this march weren’t echoed in the Capitol.