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TFN President Tells Senate Education Committee to Stop Wasting Time on Voucher Schemes

State should be focused on real issues facing Texas education system

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2012

AUSTIN — The president of the Texas Freedom Network today warned members of the Senate Committee on Education that costly, unaccountable school voucher schemes will only harm public education at a vulnerable time for the state’s already underfunded schools.

The committee met in Austin to discuss school vouchers in preparation for the 2013 Legislature that begins in January. In written testimony provided to the committee, Miller commented:

“This state faces real and growing education issues rapid enrollment growth while education budgets are slashed, a testing system that has lost the confidence of parents and many educators, and difficult questions about Texas students’ college readiness. Yet in this hearing room, those critical issues must once again take a back seat to a political experiment that has failed to deliver on any of its promises,” Miller said. “The promise this committee should make to the students of Texas is that until we address these real problems facing our state, no time will be wasted on vouchers or other politically motivated education experiments.”

Private school vouchers would drain critical funds from public schools and funnel them to private and religiously-affiliated schools at a time when school districts are already operating under tight budgets. During the 2011 Legislature, $4 billion was cut from public education to help bridge the state's budget gap.

Furthermore, private schools are unaccountable to state standards and therefore taxpayers. In Louisiana, for example, the state’s new voucher program has already come under fire for putting state funds into religious schools that promote religious dogma and maintain policies that discriminate in admissions on the basis of religion or other factors. Miller provided members of the education committee with a new report detailing some of the church-state issues that are already occurring in Louisiana.

Voucher programs have proven unpopular with the general public and with lawmakers. Voucher legislation has been considered at every Texas legislative session since 1995, but all proposals have been defeated before becoming law.

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The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who advance a mainstream agenda supporting public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.

 

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