Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘vouchers’

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 […]

Zack Kopplin

Remember the name Zack Kopplin. Rice University sophomore Zack Kopplin says he has been called the Antichrist, a godless liberal and, bizarrely, the cause of Hurricane Katrina. Kopplin, 19, has gained notoriety for championing the fight against his home state of Louisiana’s 2008 law that made it easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into […]

From the “Anyone can call themselves an expert” department

Now see, this is what happens when you go soliciting expert witnesses on Craigslist Joseph Bast, president and CEO of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, is a witness for Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, or TREE, a group led by former state Rep. Kent Grusendorf that is not a plaintiff but was permitted […]

What they’re saying about education

The Chron has a couple of stories focusing on area legislators and their priorities for 2013. There will be many new faces in the Lege and the Senate in this session, so the more we know about what these folks have in mind, the better. This story is about Pearland Rep. Ed Thompson (R, HD29) […]

Not just vouchers, corporate-sponsored vouchers

You can’t make this stuff up. Speaking in a Catholic school classroom in Austin, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick gave the first details of what they promised would be a wide-ranging set of proposals for public education policy during the upcoming legislative session. Patrick, a Houston Republican who chairs the Senate […]

Are vouchers unconstitutional?

Attorney Kelly Frels makes the case that private school vouchers will not pass constitutional muster in Texas. State Sen. Dan Patrick has proposed that the state of Texas provide vouchers to help parents pay for private school tuition. Vouchers are bad public policy, and they are not permitted by the Texas Constitution. [...] From a […]

Overview of SBOE6

The Memorial Examiner takes a look at the race in SBOE6 between Republican Donna Bahorich and Democrat Traci Jensen. Bahorich is former district director for state Sen. Dan Patrick (R-District 7) and says her experience with the state legislative process adds to her qualifications for the post. A former manager at Mountain Bell, she home-schooled […]

Patrick teases his school choice proposals

He doesn’t want to call it “vouchers”, but if it walks like a duck… “If there’s one message that I want to send, it’s that I want to champion public education,” said Patrick, the new chairman of the Senate Public Education Committee. Whether the education community is ready to embrace Patrick in that role is […]

The opening argument against vouchers

We’ve been hearing about vouchers since Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst named Sen. Dan Patrick to be Chair of the Senate Education Committee, but we haven’t heard – or at least, I haven’t seen – a lot of information about what exactly that would mean. This Chron op-ed by Ronald Trowbridge brings some facts and figures […]

A question of how many

Yes, Democrats will pick up seats in the Lege this election. The question is how many seats. Texas political experts expect Democrats will gain at least seven House seats. “If the Democrats don’t get to 55 seats or more, the party has committed malpractice,” said GOP campaign consultant Eric Bearse. Most of the competitive legislative […]

Dewhurst prepares to ditch public education

This tells you all you need to know about his priorities. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is poised to announce Senate leadership changes today that could have a profound effect on Texas education policy — including giving fuel to a push for school choice. Dewhurst plans to name Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, as chairman of the […]

Perry gives another middle finger to public education

It’s a twofer, actually. Here’s one. Gov. Rick Perry named Michael Williams the new commissioner of the Texas Education Agency Monday. A fixture of Texas Republican politics — and a former general counsel to the Republican Party of Texas — Williams resigned from the Texas Railroad Commission in 2011 after serving more than a decade […]

A matter of priorities

Compare and contrast. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the outspoken voice of the far right in the Senate, said he will be pushing vouchers that parents of school-age children could use for charter schools, online offerings or additional alternatives to the public schools. “To me, school choice is the photo ID bill of this session,” […]

Two more ways to divert money from public schools

Number One: Taxpayer-funded scholarships to private schools. When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy. The program would be supported by donations to nonprofit scholarship groups, and Georgians who contributed would receive dollar-for-dollar tax […]