Last week, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in partnership with other student-centered educational organizations, issued a letter applauding Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to use part of his Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds to fund grants for students with special needs and new charter schools, expanding access to high quality education and support for students across Texas.

In the wake of a Covid-19 pandemic that created immense learning losses, especially for economically disadvantaged students, more education choices are necessary for families in Texas. With more than 55,000 students on the waitlist for charter schools and 600,000 students in Texas receiving special education services, these additional funds will help make a quality education a reality for Texas families everywhere.

“Our educational recovery will take great teachers, involved communities, and most of all, empowered parents. State governors have been assigned additional federal funds above the funding already dedicated to school districts. Governor Abbott has invested those funds in programs that make a difference and put parents in the driver’s seat,” said Greg Sindelar, CEO of TPPF. “The SSES program sends support directly to students with special needs, and their families get to choose the providers they want to see. Charter schools—schools which parents proactively select for their children—have been a godsend for many families before and during school closures, but there are tens of thousands of families waiting for seats. These programs are wise uses of federal funds that will aid Texas families as they seek the best education supports for their children.”

“Families across Texas need ways to help children get back on track after the upheaval of the last two years. Students with special needs have been particularly affected by school closures and instructional gaps. The SSES program was founded and funded by Governor Abbott to bring additional resources to those students. We applaud his recent allocation of further federal funds so that more children can participate,” said Emily Sass, Distinguished Senior Fellow of K-12 Policy, “Charter schools provide critical school options for Texas students. In a time of grave learning losses and concerning odds of students catching back up, families need great schools fast. Governor Abbott’s grants for charter school incubation and replication will help current excellent schools serve more students and move promising school models from concept to reality.”

Read the full letter here.