AUSTIN, Texas – Parents in Texas would have greater power in providing for their children’s education under any of three pieces of legislation to be considered by the House Committee on Public Education, two of the state’s leading education experts will tell lawmakers on Tuesday.
“Even parents who choose not to exercise their right to choice would benefit,” says Byron Schlomach, Ph.D., the chief economist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Any time more freedom is given, that more opportunities are available, everyone’s lot is improved.”
The three measures – HB 12 by Rep. Frank Corte of San Antonio, HB 1263 by Rep. Linda Harper-Brown of Irving, and HB 3042 by Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball – would providing varying degrees of choice to parents. HB 12 is the most restrictive, while HB 3042 is essentially a universal voucher. The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5.
Schlomach discounted opposition levied by teacher unions and public school administrators.
“Monopolists hate competition, because it forces them to be more efficient, more productive. Letting parents choose the best option available for their child forces the public schools to do more to be the ‘school of choice,’ for each family,” Schlomach says.
Texans show strong support for school choice. In a poll conducted by the Tower Institute, 54 percent of all Texans support school choice. But when looking at ethnicity, 62 percent of African-Americans and 62 percent of Hispanics support the concept of using education vouchers at private schools.
“Parents, especially minority parents, are wise to the value of school choice. The research is undeniable, school choice improves the educational outcomes for everyone,” notes Chris Patterson, the Foundation’s director of research. “From Milwaukee to Florida, school choice is improving the academic climate for children everywhere it is tried.”