The members of the State Board of Education who dissented late last week when the board voted, 10-5, for a resolution urging the Legislature to reject private school vouchers, including tax-credit “scholarships,” were among the board’s more conservative members. But another conservative, first-termer Marty Rowley, a Republican from Amarillo, pointed out that there was nothing particularly liberal – or conservative — about wanting to save education tax dollars for public schools. Reserving tax money for public education is simply being fair to the vast majority of school children and is the correct thing to do.
“I am a limited-government conservative, and because of that it concerns me when I see taxpayer dollars going to the private sector,” he said, voting for the resolution.
Perhaps Rowley should sit down and have a chat with Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, who also professes to be a limited-government conservative but is a driving force behind the school privatization scheme.
Patrick’s Senate Bill 23, which would allow businesses to get tax credits for donating money for private school scholarships, may be debated by the full Senate this week. Whatever Patrick may call it, the bill would create a private school voucher program because the tax credits would take money away from public education for the benefit of private school operators.
A majority of the State Board of Education – five Democrats and five Republicans—now joins a bipartisan majority of the Texas House in going on record against spending public money on private schools. The House voted 103-43 earlier this month to put that prohibition into its version of the new state budget.
But Patrick and some of his Senate colleagues remain undeterred.
And at least one member of the State Board of Education who supports vouchers seems utterly confused.
Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas said she voted against the resolution because, “I believe in the American right to educate my children in the manner that I want.”
OK. But what does that have to do with vouchers?
If parents want to send their children to private school and can afford to do so, fine. But don’t take tax dollars away from public schools and undermine the education of most Texas school children.