Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Shift in Attitude About School Choice?

Perhaps you have seen a discussion thread (that I believe has now been taken down) that initiated with a Facebook post by Tarrant County Tea Party chair Julie McCarty.  In her post, among other comments, she said:
-    "I am not for school choice."
-    "The ESA's being considered right now for Texas require that homeschoolers who participate will be subject to the state's chosen assessment test."
-    "When has the govt ever encroached "just a little bit" without eventually going in for the kill?"

It's critical that the quotes above are considered in the context of the entire thread.  If you cannot find the thread and would like for me to forward to you, please send an email to  

So what does all of this mean?  To me, this is a reflection of the advocacy efforts that are communicating the "rest of the story" about the fallacies of Education Savings Accounts.  It is a reflection that vouchers (by any name) don't have the appeal to a cross section of people, regardless of their political persuasion.  And it is also a reflection of the need for public education advocates to use this reaction in furthering the message, especially in conversations with members of the Senate.

After viewing the joint House Appropriations/Public Education committee hearing last week, there is certainly a nice base of support in the House, perhaps a reflection of leadership of these two committees.  But a strategy to let the Senate act on vouchers (by any name) and then look to the House to block this effort is one that potentially opens the door for voucher proponents.  Instead, I believe I see this as a great opportunity to communicate with the Senate, with a particular focus on members of the Senate Education committee.  It's an opportunity for us to Make Education a Priority in discussions in both chambers.

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