Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation applauds the Texas Senate for passing Senate Bill 8, historic legislation that will allow the parents of 5.5 million children to take a central role in their children’s education. The bill strengthens parental rights,provides a respectful grievance process, creates open enrollment by allowing students to transfer among district schools, and creates a broad Education Savings Account program. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
“It is long past time for Texas to give parents the ability to choose the best educational options for their children,” said Greg Sindelar, TPPF’s chief executive officer. “Senate Bill 8 is an important step forward towards empowering all Texas parents, and we applaud Sen. Creighton, Lt Governor Patrick and parental empowerment advocates for making parents a priority.”
Senate Bill 8:
• Recognizes that public schools or governmental entities may not infringe on a parent’s right to direct the moral and religious training of the parent’s child, including makingdecisions concerning the child’s education, as well as medical, psychiatric, and psychological treatment.
• Requires parent consent to share a child’s health or medical information with a third-party.
• Allows parents to request that school districts audit their classroom materials to ensure they align with district-adopted material and are on-grade level.
• Prohibits a school district from providing instruction, guidance, activities, or programming regarding sexual orientation or gender identity to PK-12 students.
• Requires that each of the three phases of the public–school grievance process take no longer than 14 school business days, or 42 days total, which is far better than the months-long process many parents now endure.
• Allows school districts to deny a parent’s transfer request only if the school is full or the applicant is currently suspended or expelled from school. This would substantially improve public school options available to Texas children.
• Creates education savings accounts for all students in public and private schools and young children who are entering Pre-Kinder, Kinder, or 1st grade. The money is parent-directed and can be used for tuition and educational expenses, including tutoring, books, and therapy. The ESA can be used at any accredited K-12 school and also at any accredited college.