2013 Lege–Public Education

Chandra Villanueva

On the face of it, “school choice” sounds like an intriguing concept.

But, a key component of the school choice proposal presented by Senate leadership, which purports to allow for students to transfer within and between districts, offers few choices for too few students.

After the 2011 Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education last session, there are 25,000 fewer teachers and the number of overcrowded classrooms has tripled. Under the school choice proposal, very few students would actually be able to take advantage of transferring because high performing districts do not have the capacity and are often not in the geographic vicinity to absorb students from struggling schools.

Texas is responsible for educating nearly five million students and the vast majority will continue to attend public schools regardless of the school choice schemes being thrown around today. For our public schools to successfully prepare all five million students for college and career, the Legislature needs to provide adequate funding that reflects the true cost of providing an education to our diverse and growing population.

The school choice debate is just a distraction from finding real solutions to the education challenges we face.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

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