Intent on inflicting even more damage on the public schools, conservative Republicans are almost certain to make school vouchers a priority during next year’s legislative session. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, published over the weekend, state Sen. Dan Patrick was almost drooling over the prospect.
“This (2013) is the year to do it, in my view,” Patrick said. “That issue will do more to impact the future of Texas and the quality of education than anything else we could do.”
Coming from a legislative tea party leader who gleefully whacked away at public school budgets – and educators’ jobs — last year, those words are pretty scary. Patrick is trying to suggest that school vouchers would have a positive “impact” on educational quality. But that suggestion is about as absurd as the claims by Patrick, Gov. Perry and other right-wingers that the $5.4 billion they slashed from public education in 2011 didn’t hurt the schools.
You don’t improve public education – or enhance the state’s future – by diverting tax dollars to private school vouchers. What you do is enrich educational profiteers – be they private school owners, charter school operators or online instruction gurus – at the expense of the vast majority of Texas school children.
Patrick and other voucher advocates talk about giving parents and their children “choice” over educational options. But their real goal is not advancing education. It is promoting a short-sighted, limited-government ideology.
But elections have consequences, folks. So buckle up.