The voucher predators are still lying. Is anyone surprised?

To no one’s surprise, Gov. Greg Abbott and the pro-voucher crowd are spreading lies in their multimillion-dollar campaign to unseat Republican members of the Texas House who joined with Democrats to kill Abbott’s voucher initiative last fall.

Their assault in Republican primary races around the state include TV ads and similar attacks falsely accusing the anti-voucher lawmakers of killing a bill that would have increased public school funding and paid for teacher pay raises. They didn’t kill that bill. They simply voted to successfully remove a voucher program from it.

The person who really killed the bill was Abbott. After the voucher provision was removed, the remaining provisions in the bill never came to a vote because the governor had made it clear he wouldn’t approve the much-needed funding for public schools, educators and students without getting his way on vouchers for private schools.

You can call the ad, sponsored by a pro-voucher group called the Family Empowerment Coalition, misleading, as some media outlets are doing, but, really, it’s a lie.

Moreover, a leader of the Family Empowerment Coalition has been quoted as saying voucher advocates were trying to pass a limited voucher program “that would have served 1 percent of kids, all poor.”

This statement also ignores the truth.

The voucher proposal that died would not have been limited to low-income children, and the vouchers that would have offered $8,000 per year per student would not have come close to covering annual tuition payments and fees required by many of the states’ private schools. “Poor kids” and their families would not have been able to pay the difference, but many middle- and upper-income families would have jumped at the chance to receive a state subsidy for private school expenses they could already afford.

The governor’s campaign to unseat voucher opponents is not about “poor kids.” It’s about making super-wealthy campaign donors and school privatization advocates happy.

The so-called “limited” voucher program, had it been enacted, would have cost Texas taxpayers more than $2 billion a year within a few years, the Legislative Budget Board calculated. And that cost would have kept rising with billions of tax dollars going to private schools each year while public schools remained under-funded and in danger of shutting their doors.

The anti-voucher Republican lawmakers and their Democratic colleagues voted to protect their local public schools from predators, and that’s the truth.

Clay Robison


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