Something must be done to break up the monopoly over the K-12 government school programs and something must be done for inner city students wishing to escape a failing government school campus. Very few Texans will oppose these goals but it is the devil involved in the details of such plans that draw opposition. Many are hoping that school vouchers or grants will solve the failing government policies.
What most parents don’t realize is that choice in government education already exists under Subchapter B of the Texas Education Code, “ASSIGNMENTS AND TRANSFERS”. Students can, and do, transfer from the campus serving their residence to another campus within their school district. They also transfer to another district, and even transfer to a district in a bordering U.S. state. This occurs most often in rural Texas without significant incident.
Accountability for Public Funds
The problem with vouchers or grants lies in the flow of the money from taxpayers through the state and then “reimbursed” to certain parents to apply toward tuition at a private school. Changing the current law to require that private K-12 campuses accept students and their public money, will require the same failing government school programs to follow the voucher/grant money and be administered on the private campus to the students that are trying to escape these failing programs in the first place; maybe not immediately but definitely over time since it is the fiscal duty of the state to oversee taxpayer funds. Let’s not forget about infringing upon the students paying full-ride to the private school to escape government education, on top of paying their government school taxes.
Taxation Shall be Equal and Uniform
Most voucher proposals resemble the Robin Hood plan in that the “reimbursement” of taxes in the form of vouchers is only available to certain students, after excluding any money from the available school fund and federal funds. These reimbursements are then applied toward tuition at a private K-12 school. The Texas Constitution states: “Taxation shall be equal and uniform”. Inner city students most likely will not be paying into the system an amount equal to the “reimbursement” of taxpayer funds awarded for their voucher or grant. Likewise, a suburban student may be paying more in taxes than any “reimbursement” received under such a plan. How does this apply equally to all students? Are such reimbursement plans available to all Texas students or limited to certain lower income families?
Elephant in the Room
Texas government schools suffer the same symptoms as our illegal immigration/invasion; excessive consumption of social services on the backs of the working middle-class. If Texas legislators want to address the illness and not the symptoms, their acceptance of socialist programs that follow the federal funding for education and health care should cease. The federal government was not granted the privilege and duty to administer federal education or federal health care in the U.S. Constitution. In our republic, the states are more powerful than a federal government, Texas has no obligation to accept federal funds or adhere to their unconstitutional mandates. Article VI and the 10th Amendment (U.S. Constitution) empower the state legislature to ignore federal actions that violate Article I.
Texans trust Austin to oversee appropriations more efficiently than D.C. Austin should not contaminate the thriving free market of private education by forcing public money onto their successful model. Instead, our legislature should stop throwing additional money at the failing socialist model of the government education system, and imitate what the successful private K-12 campuses are doing on a lean budget, that is if they want to improve government education.