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‘School choice’ an issue in Texas gubernatorial race

Christian Post reporter Samantha Kamman writes that the issue of school choice has become divisive in the 2022 race for Texas governor.

Supporters have used the term school choice to describe the use of public funds to support private schools with the hope that it will increase competition while improving the overall quality of education. More opponents contend that using public funds for private schools is inappropriate and that school choice inevitably draws money away from the traditional public school system.

Kamman continues:

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott voiced support for school vouchers in May, arguing that parents should be allowed to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to the school of their choosing.

However, Abbott’s Democratic challenger, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, is voicing concerns that such policies could cripple traditional public schooling in certain areas.

As The Texas Tribune reported last month, O’Rourke’s campaign has spent around $40,000 on newspaper advertisements, warning voters that they should not “let Greg Abbott privatize public education in Abilene.”

In July, O’Rourke claimed during a speech directed toward rural Texans that the current governor has “left behind” some rural communities.

“For our rural communities, where there’s only one school district and only one option of public school, he wants to defund that through vouchers, take your tax dollars out of your classroom and send it to a private school in Dallas or Austin or somewhere else at your expense,” O’Rourke said.

Jason Bedrick, a research fellow for the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative think tank, argued in a Thursday statement to The Christian Post that O’Rourke is focused on systems instead of students.

Citing research from EdChoice, a nonprofit that advocates for school choice, Bedrick argued that some benefits of school choice policies include raised test scores and increased racial integration. According to EdChoice, there were at least 76 private school choice programs operating in 32 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico with over 600,000 students participating as of April 2022.  

The American Federation of Teachers contends that vouchers will primarily serve as tax breaks for wealthy families that can afford to send their kids to private schools.

Read full article here.



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