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ATPE Statement on House Select Committee on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Texas Legislature Privatization | Vouchers

Date Posted: 6/12/2023

ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes has the following statement on Speaker Dade Phelan’s appointment of a House Select Committee on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment: 

“We caution the Speaker and House members against tying too many issues together,” Holmes said. “The need to meaningfully support educators and educational institutions should stand on its own. In fact, the Legislature has a constitutional duty to do just that. 

“The Legislature doesn’t have a constitutional duty to fund private schools. The first purpose statement is filled with code words for vouchers, such as ‘educational opportunity’ and ‘freedom to obtain a quality education, regardless of circumstance.’ Of course, Texas should, and does, provide those things—again, through its public schools. The House should be clear that improving the delivery of ‘quality education, regardless of circumstance’ for all children is a matter of improving public education, as specified in the Texas Constitution—not diverting funds away from public education into a voucher scheme. 

“Although there is room for improving the assessment and accountability system, Texas educators and students are in the middle of adjusting to the current major revamp of the assessment and accountability system. Future modifications should be made after we’ve had time to assess the impact of these recent changes and following more extensive study of the issue with input from Texas teachers. We caution the House not to rush into recommendations for wholesale changes on account of political pressure.  

“We saw during the regular session how strongly public educators feel about not tying these issues together and about hasty legislative proposals being crafted without their input or a thorough vetting. These tactics are a nonstarter, and nothing has changed in the past few weeks.” 

About the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)
Founded in 1980, ATPE is the leading educators’ association in Texas with approximately 90,000 members statewide. With its strong collaborative philosophy, ATPE speaks for classroom teachers, administrators, and future, retired, and para-educators and works to create better opportunities for Texas’ more than five million public school students. | atpe.org


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