Texas School Choice: The Real Catalyst of Education Reform

School ChoiceThis is for those who are deeply worried about a crisis of morality and the decline of our culture. If you believe that traditional Judeo-Christian values and morality should be taught to our children and that this will produce citizens who not only have knowledge, but character qualities that value honesty, integrity, obedience to lawful authorities, sexual purity until marriage, and a belief in God and the Bible, then school choice is for you.

Under our state and federal constitutions, we prohibit an establishment of religion. However, at the same time, we allow religious liberty. In 1908, the Texas Supreme Court faced the issue of whether or not the Ten Commandments, Bible reading, hymn singing and prayers could occur in Texas public schools. In Church v. Bullock, the Texas Supreme Court said, “Should we starve the moral and spiritual nature out of many to the deference of the few? No, the result would be moral chaos and anarchy.” Thus, allowing traditional Christian principles to be taught in public schools. The majority view prevailed.

In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court answered the same question exactly the opposite. It basically removed prayer, and later the Ten Commandments, hymn singing, Bible reading from all government employee operated public schools in the United States. Lying, cheating, killing stealing, raping – all these things have vastly increased and our schools are war zones for many children. The minority view prevails.

School choice offers the opportunity for the third way. Under school choice, everybody gets to choose what kind of school he or she wants including religious values. Schools can be secular or they can be religious private schools and the child can receive funding for every child’s general education in secular subjects which the child or his parents can then take to a school of their choice. The Supreme Court has already upheld such a program in Zelman v. Harris. As long as the program is equally available to people of all faiths, or no faith, and the state’s interest in general education, a general diffusion of knowledge under the Texas constitution, is the primary purpose of legislators, and not to advance religion, then the program is constitutional.

Since more than half of the Texas public school campuses failed to achieve adequate yearly student progress under the federal No Child Left Behind standards in 2012, from the last year performance reports are available, we know that we have massive educational failure in Texas. The monopoly schools run by government employees, who are prohibited by the Supreme Court from inculcating Christian truths, are not producing success. School choice is the answer and the time is NOW.

Where do you stand on School Choice? If your answer is, “I believe that education dollars should follow the child to the school of the parents’ choice, whether public or private, with savings for the state and freedom and liberty for parents, and that public schools will not significantly improve without competition”, then the time is NOW!

The battle has begun! Between January 13 and May 31, 2015, the Texas Legislature will be in session. There has never been as great an opportunity to obtain school choice statewide as there is right now, but it won’t happen unless you and tens of thousands of others get involved personally.

Here is why we have such a great environment to achieve school choice:

  1. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick understands school choice, is committed to school choice, is articulate in defending the issue, campaigned on the issue, and won election as a champion for school choice. He wants to make it one of his top priorities in the Texas Senate.
  2. The state Republican Party just made School Choice Statewide one of its top seven agenda items for this session. That has never happened before. While school choice is a non-partisan issue, and both Democrat voters and Republican voters support the concept, the Texas Legislature is currently dominated by Republicans and Republicans control all statewide elected offices.
  3. Governor -elect Greg Abbott believes in bringing excellence to education and has repeatedly said that excellence cannot be achieved without competition.
  4. 1.1. million Texas Republicans voted in 2012 to support the following language:

The state should fund education by allowing dollars to follow the child instead of the bureaucracy, through a program which allows parents the freedom to choose their child’s school, public or private, while also saving significant taxpayer dollars.”

  1. Hispanic and African-American parents support school choice.

What Must Be Done?

You must contact five members of the Texas Government. Call, write them, or email them. You must contact:

  1. The Governor,
  2.  Lt. Governor,
  3.  Speaker of the House
  4.  State Representative
  5.  State Senator

No one knows how they will vote on school choice.

Ask them how they will vote on school choice, including private schools. Tell them how you feel. Remind them that according to the latest available Federal No Child Left Behind Standards (2012), more than 50% of Texas’ campuses are failing to meet adequate yearly student progress. School choice depends on how many people contact them and how many persuade them that school choice is a good idea. Government employees and their allies oppose choice vehemently. They want to have control, not consumers.

Without you and tens of thousands of your friends and neighbors and fellow Texans, school choice will not be achieved. The government employees are massively resistant to change and want to protect their tax dollar monopoly. They do not want any children in Texas educated with your tax dollars unless it is by a government employee. That is wrong. It is time to change.

The Texas and U.S. Supreme Court have both said that children in private schools, including religious schools can be included in school choice because that choice is religious liberty, not an establishment of religion. All school choice is voluntary.

Go to read more about the Taxpayer Savings Grants.

Senator Donna Campbell has introduced this as SB 276.

This is a critical time! Between now and June, you are in a battle for religious liberty, for freedom, for excellence in education, for school choice for all. NOW IS THE TIME!