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Posts Tagged ‘vouchers’

Vouchers get their Senate hearing

Here we go again with this nonsense. Senate Bill 3, authored by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood, would establish educational savings accounts and tax credit scholarships to fund various costs associated with parents moving their children from traditional public schools to private, parochial, or charter schools. In an online payment process, parents could use […]

Patrick versus the House

The Texas House isn’t all onboard with Dan Patrick’s agenda, and our Lite Guv has his shorts in a bunch about it. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick celebrated a milestone Wednesday: His Senate had acted on all four of Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency items with many more days to go in the 85th legislative session. “It’s […]

Abby Whitmire: Why I’m running for Humble ISD Board of Trustees

(Note: As you know, I solicit guest posts from time to time. I am also working to follow the May 2017 elections more closely, to do my part for the renewed sense of purpose and desire to make a difference at the local level. I was delighted to learn that a friend of mine had […]

Huberty says vouchers are dead this session

Always nice to hear. The top education policy official in the Texas House said Tuesday that he would not allow the approval of school vouchers this legislative session, a blunt pronouncement that could be fatal to the prospects for legislation that is a priority for many top Republicans in the state. The official, House Public […]

Senate to begin studying school finance changes

We’ll see what this looks like. Leaders in the Texas Senate are vowing to find ways to overhaul the state’s school finance system, saying a recent Texas Supreme Court decision granted them a prime opportunity to shake up the heavily criticized status quo. On Monday, they announced the creation of a Senate budget working group […]

Meet the latest education scam

Free money! What could possibly go wrong? An ambitious new player has emerged in the controversial effort to use taxpayer dollars to help Texas parents send their kids to private or religious schools. Texans for Education Opportunity, which launched in May, supports all forms of “school choice,” including charters and traditional public schools, said Executive […]

Straus wants to study school finance

I appreciate the effort, but I plan to keep my expectations low. Citing a recent Texas Supreme Court decision that upheld the state’s public school funding system while deeming it “undeniably imperfect,” state House Speaker Joe Straus on Thursday ordered representatives to study the school finance system and recommend reforms before the 2017 legislative session. […]

Eltife not running for re-election

He will be missed. After 23 years in elected office, state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, said he will not run for re-election in 2016 to devote more time to family, friends, his work and his community. Eltife said he’s loved every minute of his service in the Senate and is proud to have worked with […]

Where the education reform bills stand

As we know, the attempt to take a first stab at school finance reform did not make it to the House floor. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some action on school-related issues. This Chron story from the weekend recapped a couple of the major bills that did make it through. Lawmakers likely could have killed […]

Senate passes a voucher bill

Hopefully, this will die in the House. Some low-income families unhappy with their public schools would get help paying private school tuition under a plan that won tentative approval in the Texas Senate Monday. Senate Bill 4, which would use state tax credits to entice up to $100 million in business donations to fund a […]

Here comes the school finance bill

It’s a big deal. The House education chairman on Tuesday unveiled a $3 billion proposal he hopes will overhaul the way Texas funds public schools and derail a looming lawsuit in the process. “My objective when I began this was to simplify the situation that we’re in,” Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, said before providing […]

Budget passes House as most amendments get pulled

It was a long day in the House on Tuesday and Wednesday but not a terribly bloody one as many of the budget amendments and riders that had been queued up got withdrawn. A brief recap of the action: Border “security”: House Democrats tried — and mostly failed — to divert funds allotted for border […]

Let the budgetary games begin

The House takes up the budget today, with over 300 amendments and riders queued up for votes. A couple of things to watch for as the debate goes on: Killing vouchers. Lawmakers in the Texas House will have a chance to draw a line in the sand over private school vouchers during the upcoming battle […]

Hegar’s first revenue estimate is in

We’ll see how it holds up. Amid concerns that tumbling oil prices could push the Texas economy into a recession, Comptroller Glenn Hegar offered a cautiously optimistic tone on the future of the Texas economy Monday, announcing that lawmakers will have $113 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget. “Our projections are […]

Wake me up in June

As we prepare for the 84th Legislative session to begin, let’s pause for a moment and see what we can expect. Greg Abbott wants to make the world safe for plastic bags. Dan Patrick wants to cut his property taxes, and ensure that Texas never has enough money to meet its needs. Donna Campbell wants […]

The Lege is unlikely to do anything substantive on education this session

Oh, there will be lots of sound and fury, as well as various sideshow distractions, but in the end the main issue to resolve – school finance – will be at best “tweaked”. For anything more than that, we will have to wait till the Lege is forced to act by the Supreme Court. Public […]

Texas asks for federal funding for pre-k vouchers

Not sure how I feel about this. Teacher groups are up in arms as Texas seeks millions from the federal government to fund a new pre-K voucher program that would begin next fall. Last month, the Texas Education Agency applied for $30 million in prekindergarten grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, its share […]

Dan Patrick loves the poor folks

He says so himself, so it must be true. State Sen. Dan Patrick told a wealthy Houston business group Thursday that he would advocate for the poor and people of color if elected lieutenant governor in November, at one point advocating compassion toward immigrants who brave dangers to cross Texas’ southern border. The shift in […]

Where things stand with two weeks to go in the legislative session

With the Thursday midnight deadline for bills to pass on second reading in the House, I figured this would be a good time to take a look at the status of some major legislation and legislative priorities. There are two weeks left in the regular session, and the specter of overtime is hazy but present. […]

SBOE passes anti-voucher resolution

Good for them. The Texas State Board of Education voted 10-5 on Friday to urge the Legislature to reject proposals that would result in public funds being allocated for private educational institutions. The resolution, authored by Board of Education member Ruben Cortez, Jr., D-Brownsville, asks the legislature to “reject all vouchers, taxpayer savings grants, tax […]

Charter bill passes Senate, voucher bill passes out of committee

Score one for Sen. Dan Patrick. As colleagues praised Education Chairman Dan Patrick’s efforts at building consensus, a significantly altered version of his expansion of the state’s charter school system quickly passed out of the Senate Thursday afternoon. Patrick, R-Houston, said the bill accomplished what should be the goal of lawmakers — lifting everyone through […]

Patrick has his voucher hearing

It went about as you’d expect. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, delivered an impassioned plea in support of what threatens to become a beleaguered tax credit scholarship plan during a Tuesday morning hearing on his legislation. “We are great enough in this state to do this thing if we just knock down some barriers of […]

House debates its budget

As you know, yesterday was Budgetpalooza in the House. The House budget puts more money into public education and less into health and human services than a Senate proposal that passed the upper chamber last month. “No one is or will be entirely happy with this bill, but there is something for everyone this year,” […]

The prospects for increasing charter schools

According to the Trib, it’s trickier than it might look. Senate Bill 2, the centerpiece of Patrick’s plans for the session, is the most ambitious attempt to expand the state’s charter school system since it was established in 1995. To succeed, it will have to pass a Legislature that defeated more modest proposals just two […]

Patrick files his own voucher bill

I guess if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Ending speculation over when — or whether — his widely promoted school choice legislation would emerge, state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has filed a bill creating a business tax scholarship for students to attend private schools. The Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, or Senate […]

Here come the voucher bills

The Observer reports from the Senate, where two voucher bills were on display. In fact, the business-tax-credit-totally-not-vouchers bill had already been filed Monday, by McKinney Republican Ken Paxton. So ends the great mystery, begun in a little Catholic schoolroom last December, of who would carry Sen. Dan Patrick’s voucher bill. That leaves two school voucher proposals—defined […]

More concern of convenience

David Dewhurst channels Dan Patrick. Dewhurst, noting his differing view from Straus, said he’s a product of public schools and wants to support them, but said he doesn’t want to leave an estimated 315,000 Texas students in academically unacceptable schools. “I’m mad. I’m mad as hell about that,” Dewhurst said, adding that it takes on […]

Vouchers continue to be a tough sell

I won’t be happy till they’re dead and buried, but it’s something. Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, doesn’t think the Senate has a taste for vouchers. Noting that a two-thirds vote of the 31-member chamber is needed to bring up a bill for discussion, she said, “I believe there are 11 votes to block.” House Public […]

Guest post: A response to Sen. Patrick on school choice

Note: The following is a guest post, by Aboubacar Ndiaye. It was sent to me unsolicited. I liked it and agreed to print it, so here it is. In an editorial published last Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle, State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) again argued for what he sees as education reform. In the article, […]

Patrick files his “school choice” bill

From the Trib: The State Board of Education currently oversees applications for charter school contracts, which state law caps at 215. Patrick’s Senate Bill 2 would create a new state entity to authorize the contracts and lift that cap, allowing for an unlimited number of charter school operators in the state. “There is no one […]

Here come the STAAR reform bills

Fire one: State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, the newly appointed chairman of the House Public Education Committee, filed legislation Wednesday that would restructure the state’s high school graduation and student testing requirements. Aycock’s proposal, House Bill 5, would move public schools to an accountability system with grades of A through F, a concept that […]

Sunsetting tax expenditures

Sens. John Carona and Rodney Ellis have the right idea. Over the past 18 months, many of our constituents told us they have trouble finding a reliable, accurate and up-to-date source of information on these tax breaks, exemptions and special treatments — often called tax preferences or loopholes. Unfortunately, so do we. The Legislature makes […]

Committee time

Now the real work gets started. House Speaker Joe Straus announced committee assignments for the Legislature’s lower chamber on Thursday, ending speculation over key chairmanships and giving lawmakers the go-ahead to start considering bills. Here’s his list. Of the standing committees, 32 are chaired by men, six by women. That’s one more female chair than […]

What we need is better choice

With all the talk about “school choice” floating around, it’s important to remember that in Houston at least we already have a lot of options from which to choose. Houston’s urban school leaders vowed Wednesday to continue efforts to expand quality school choices, despite financial and regulatory challenges. Top charters schools – including KIPP and […]