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Section A: General News


Editorial: Time to give parents right to decide where kids go to school




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Guest Column
February 6, 2013 | 1,333 views | 6 comments

By Peggy Venable

National School Choice Week presents an opportunity to ask whether parents should be able to choose their kids’ schools -- public, charter, or private schools. But why are we sending kids to schools based solely on their zip code anyway?

Some parents are able to select their kids’ school. They choose to move based on the school district, to home school, or to send their kids to a private or charter school. But millions of parents have no choice, no flexibility to determine their children’s education. Their kids are relegated to the government school assigned by virtue of their zip code.

Many of us don’t think that is the American way. After all, even folks who have the Lone Star Card can choose their grocery store. And while public schools educate some students well, we are still leaving millions of kids behind.

Teachers are not the problem. The system is the problem. We have created a cumbersome and wasteful system that doesn’t allow teachers to teach. Our public schools are bloated bureaucracies. Over 16 years when Texas student enrollment grew 37 percent and teachers increased by 50 percent, the number of non-teaching staff ballooned an astounding 172 percent!

Public schools have become a jobs program, and those on the gravy train aren’t in the classroom. They are working to keep parents from having a voice in their kids’ education.

What are education bureaucrats afraid of? Are status quo advocates fearful of a mass student exodus if parents can choose? Their protests simply reveal their lack of confidence in the education they are delivering.

Let’s face it: Education is big business in Texas -- we spend more than $50 billion a year. That’s around 60 percent of the general revenue spending in the state budget. In the last decade, total spending rose nearly five times as fast as enrollment.

Are Texans ready to allow the dollars to follow the child to the school the parents choose?

It appears we are.

Texans want choices. In the 2012 primary, more than 84 percent of Texas Republican voters polled favored school choice -- and Democrats weren’t asked or they likely would have agreed too.

It’s a travesty that those who are part of the bureaucracy will not throw a lifeline to kids who happen to live in the poorest zip codes. It’s time legislators provide these most vulnerable kids an opportunity to succeed and pass school choice.

Peggy Venable is currently Texas director of Americans for Prosperity. She was the first White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Education under Ronald Reagan. She has served for nine years as a board member of the Texas Center for Education Research and is creator of The Red Apple Project.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 8, 2013 8:52am
 
Senior Citizen.....Low performing schools will always exist as long as we have low performing parents. It's sorta like bemoaning the lack of prayer in school while passing up the chance to pray with your child before they ... More ›

 
Senior Citizen  
Wilson County  
March 8, 2013 7:31am
 
Prairie, Seems we'd be no worse off than now, excluding low-income folks. Kids being confined to low-performing schools.

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 8, 2013 7:27am
 
This proposal seems simple at the onset but there are multiple obstacles and questions. l. At present there are approximately 154,000 students enrolled in Texas charter schools. Admission is based on open enrollment via ... More ›

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
March 7, 2013 3:12pm
 
More about school choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18a5p6tf7t0

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
February 21, 2013 7:33am
 
We received the following press release from www.TexasPolicy.com: Dr. Matthew Ladner joins TPPF as a consultant for the legislative session Ladner previously led school choice efforts for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ... More ›

 
The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
February 6, 2013 1:05pm
 
Excellent article. What we really need is another Reagan.

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