Saturday, January 30, 2016

Abbott, Patrick Boost Charter Schools at Rally

Yesterday's school choice rally at the Texas State Capitol is a dressed up attack on public education in Texas with Governor Abbott and Land Commissioner George P. Bush present. And this in light of a lack of leadership regarding the equitable financing of our public education system. 

Handing over the education of our youth to charters operators is anathema to democracy when they eliminate the structures about which we as a community have a vote—that is, elected school boards. Plus, they prey on public schools that can't cherry pick children; they must accept all children which sets them up at a competitive disadvantage in many instances relative to charter schools (IDEA and KIPP are frequently touted as our children's and community's solutions).

Don't drink the Kool-Aid, my friends. Despite the convenient civil rights rhetoric that these officials spout, so-called "choice" is an abandonment of the civil rights goal and agenda for equity.

Angela Valenzuela


Abbott, Patrick Boost Charter Schools at Rally
  by Morgan Smith, The Texas Tribune
  April 29, 2015

Saying parent choice about where to send their children to school is a "civil rights issue," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for an expansion of charter schools in the state Wednesday at a rally on the Capitol's south steps, where students, parents and educators gathered to show support for the publicly funded but privately managed schools.

"The reason we are here today is not Republican, it is not Democrat," Abbott, a Republican, said after thanking lawmakers from both parties working to pass charter-friendly bills. "The time has come to open more charter schools in the state of Texas. The time has come to empower more parents to chose the right school and the best school for their child."

Abbott was joined by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who was not originally scheduled to appear at the event, and a handful of other elected officials including Land Commissioner George P. Bush, state Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, and state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas. 

In 2013, lawmakers passed the first major overhaul of the state's charter school system since it was established in 1995, increasing the number of state contracts available for charter operators and streamlining the process to close low-performing charters.

Charter advocates have pushed for access to state facilities funding during the current legislative session — a lack of which they say creates an unequal playing field with traditional public schools.  

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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