The Texas legislature has been consumed with education during this year’s session, debating lifting the state’s charter school cap, reconsidering 15 tests students must take to graduate, and a court ruling state education funding is unconstitutionally small.
Even with Republicans firmly in control of the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature, “advancing school choice in Texas has proven enormously difficult,” said James Golsan, an education policy analyst for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick (R-Houston) proposed a school reform plan including a tax-credit scholarship pilot program. It would give Texas businesses credits for contributions to nonprofit groups that distribute the money as scholarships for poor children to attend private schools.
Although 16 other states now have various private school choice programs—some that have existed for twenty years—Dewhurst proposed a pilot program “because we want to show that it works first.”
More than 101,000 students are currently on charter school waiting lists in Texas, double the number two years ago.
Image by Texas Tribune.