For various and sundry reasons, the effort to give parents the tools they need to pull their kids from failing schools has garnered the wrath of many modern-day progressives who’ve mobilized to protect the establishment and push for more money. Some of the loudest of these voices have been education elites.
Take Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD (EMS ISD) for example.
n mid-October 2023, EMS ISD superintendent Jim Chadwell published a message on the district’s website prompting the public to take action against parental empowerment legislation, saying: “We must let our legislators know that we stand behind them and expect them to vote NO on vouchers.”
Chadwell continued, saying that education savings accounts were a way to “divert funds away from public education” while arguing that the State needed to raise the basic allotment. The implication being that the State isn’t doing enough to fund public education.
That is patently false.
Texas spent $84.8 billion on education in the 2021-22 school year, which amounts to $15,708 per student. Adding to that, the 88th Texas Legislature, which wrapped up earlier this year, increased education spending by another $10.8 billion.
The simple fact of the matter is that Texas does fund public schools. What that money is spent on, however, is a different matter.
Consider that Dr. Chadwell had the sixth highest base superintendent salary in Tarrant County for the 2022-23 school year at $331,578. Of course, that huge taxpayer-funded salary does not include the value of the rich benefit package that also accompanies the position.
While it’s impossible to say with certainty that self-interest is motivating the EMS ISD superintendent to advocate against parental empowerment, it is also not out of the question either. And that’s an unfortunate reality that the public should acknowledge.
As the debate over parental empowerment continues to unfold, we ought to remember that school officials and administrators are people too. They have a natural inclination toward maintaining their lifestyles and publicly-funded amenities, and sometimes they’re more than willing to use their voices and public platforms to see them guarded.