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TPPF study: Texas school choice improves student learning

The Foundation’s James Golsan examines how empowering parents leads to better student performance

AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation today released the study, School Choice for Texas: Empowering Parents and Improving the Futures of Texas Students that evaluates how moving forward with greater school choice initiatives in Texas empowers parents, which improves educational outcomes for students in the Lone Star State. 

“Texas has a long way to go when it comes to offering parents and students both public and private school choice, but through the introduction of freedom and competition in the education system, Texas can make gains quickly,” said James Golsan, the Foundation’s Center for Education policy analyst. “National School Choice Week is the perfect time to discuss such reforms as outlined in this study.” 

These choices can be achieved by offering comprehensive reform, which includes the creation of a statewide private education scholarship program, increasing the ability of citizens to create home-rule school districts, and expanding or eliminating the cap on public charter schools. In addition, we should strengthen the parent-trigger law to give parents greater ability to create campus charter schools, greatly expand virtual education, and establish scholarships specifically for special needs students. 

“These broad-based changes will increase educational opportunity for all Texas students, regardless of where they live or what their parents can afford,” said Golsan. 

Texas is behind many other states when it comes to school choice and the gap will continue to grow unless Texas takes steps now to expand school choice in Texas. The 83rd Texas Legislature has an opportunity to enact comprehensive reforms to both the public and private school choice options in Texas. If these reforms are enacted by June 2013, Texas could be poised to become the nation’s leader in school choice.  


James Golsan is policy analyst for the Center for Education Policy with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.


The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.