Texas Lawmakers: Reject Vouchers and Invest in Public Schools

A new Public Funds Public Schools policy brief urges Texas lawmakers to reject proposals for private school voucher programs and instead focus on the state’s underfunded public schools.

Private school voucher bills have been introduced in the Texas Legislature once again this year, and are being promoted more aggressively than ever by education privatizers in the context of a nationwide push to enact and expand voucher programs. Texas, currently voucher free and second only to California in total number of K-12 public school students, is also home to the largest number of rural students in the country, who are particularly ill-served by voucher programs. The bills being considered in the state legislature would create highly unregulated “Education Savings Account” (ESA) vouchers, with some officials pushing for expansive programs that would fund even the wealthiest families’ private education costs.

The PFPS brief, entitled “Keep Public Funds in Texas Public Schools,” details the ever-increasing body of research showing that vouchers:

  • negatively affect student outcomes;
  • harm rural students, schools, and communities;
  • deprive students of their civil rights;
  • lack standards, accountability, and transparency;
  • exacerbate school segregation;
  • drain taxpayer dollars;
  • and undermine public school systems that welcome and serve all students.

The brief also outlines findings from Education Law Center’s 2022 Making the Grade report on school funding, which gave Texas grades of “F” for overall public school funding level, “D” for funding distribution due to lower funding of high-poverty districts, and “C” for funding effort as a percentage of state GDP.

“We need our lawmakers to listen to their constituents, who want strong public schools in their communities, not private education vouchers,” said Dr. Chloe Latham Sikes, Deputy Director of Policy at IDRA. “The PFPS brief provides everything lawmakers need to know about the significant harms of vouchers and the state of public education funding in Texas.”

The PFPS brief urges Texas lawmakers to continue rejecting proposals for harmful voucher programs and instead use state resources to invest in public schools, which serve the vast majority of the state’s nearly six million students.

To access additional PFPS tools for advocates, including policy briefs, fact sheets, and an extensive series of webinars, visit the Advocacy webpage. Visit the Research webpage for studies showing the harms of private school voucher programs on students and on public schools. Use the PFPS bill tracker to monitor voucher legislation from current and past legislative sessions.

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