Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal produced an opinion column entitled “The Year In School Choice”, which highlights gains in many states regarding increased freedom in education. Thirteen states have formally enacted new choice legislation, and 28 still have some form of choice legislation pending. Among the highlights:
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker removed the cap of 22,500 students that was the former maximum participation level in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the nation’s oldest voucher program.
- Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation that removed the Indiana charter school cap and made it easier for new charter providers, including universities, to start their schools.
- Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma have created or expanded tuition tax credit programs.
- North Carolina and Tennessee eliminated their charter caps.
All of this is excellent news. However, what the article makes clear is that Texas is not moving as aggressively as other states to expand school choice. There were a number of opportunities during the 82nd Legislature to make inroads against or remove the charter cap, as well as good chances to expand virtual education and create Texas’ own education tax credit and grant programs. We, as a state, should be a leader in the school choice movement. Texas should look toward enacting advances similar to those in the states listed above if we are to claim that leadership role.