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Anti-School-Choice GOPers Massacred In Texas Primary – Vouchers Enacted In Alabama

Anti-School-Choice GOPers Massacred In Texas Primary – Vouchers Enacted In Alabama

The school choice movement, which wants families to be able to use public money to send their children to the public, private or home-school of their choosing, scored two major triumphs last week, with multiple defeats of targeted anti-school-choice Republicans in the Texas primary, and Alabama’s enactment of a comprehensive school choice program. 

Texas governor Greg Abbott had made school choice a top legislative goal of the 2023 Texas legislative session. However, his agenda was thwarted by 21 Republicans who helped the Texas House kill the measure in a final 84-63 vote. Sixteen of them were up for reelection in 2024, and Abbott earnestly gunned for the group, backing primary challenges against 10 of them, and spending $4.4 million to take them out. 

He wasn’t he only one. The American Federation of Children (AFC), a school-choice group that calls for states to “fund students, not systems,” went after 13 of the anti-school-choice Republicans, spending more than $4.5 million on the cause.

On Tuesday, the combined attack resulted in a bloodbath for the targeted incumbents. Of the 13 pursued by AFC Victory Fund, 10 either lost outright or are condemned to a runoff in May. Six were defeated and four will now face defeat in the May 28 runoffs. 

“March 5th will live long in the memory as a historic night for school choice in Texas and in the United States,” said AFC Victory Fund CEO Tommy Schultz. “Despite decades of resistance from the education establishment, voters made clear that they want school choice, and they will remove legislators who stand in their way.”

School choice in Texas received another shot in the arm by way of a non-binding proposition question on the ballot. When asked if they agreed with statement, “Texas parents and guardians should have the right to select schools, whether public or private, for their children, and the funding should follow the student,” 80% of Republican voters said yes

Two days later, Alabama Gov Kay Ivey signed The CHOOSE Act into law. It creates Education Savings Accounts parents will be able to tap for $7,000 in education expenses per academic year. Home-schoolers can use up to $2,000 per year. The program is being phased in, starting with the 2025-26 school year and fully available to all students by 2027-28.  

Teachers unions and their allies say school choice defunds public schools, and condemn the notion that public money would be spent on non-government education suppliers. However, that’s how most entitlements work, including many educational ones. 

“We have Pell Grants for low-income students for higher eduction, we have the Head Start program for pre-K where you can pick public, private, religious or non-religious,” said Corey DeAngelis, a senior fellow at AFC. “We have food stamps where the money goes to the person and you can pick Walmart or Trader Joe’s…it doesn’t go to a residentially-assigned, government-run grocery store. That would be absolutely ridiculous.”

Sun, 03/10/2024 – 12:15

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