Patrick appointment stirs controversy; signals legislative voucher battle
Today's committee chair shuffle is ruffling some feathers at the Texas State Teachers' Association. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced today that Sen. Dan Patrick would chair the education committee. TSTA President Rita Haecker is calling on the Senate to block the appointment.
The TSTA's has been highly critical of Patrick's support for a school voucher system; which is expected to be a major battle in the upcoming legislative session. The program would reimburse parents who send their children to private schools. Patrick has touted school choice as a way to save the state money and offer more choices for low income students. Opponents, however, say vouchers make for-profit education rich, with little regard to standards.
In a statement today, Haecker said Patrick's plan is "is out of touch with the majority of Texans who want real solutions for students and educators who have been forced by historic education cuts to work in crowded classrooms with inadequate resources."
You can read Haecker's full statement, below:
“We are hopeful that the Senate majority will not allow the appointment of Sen. Dan Patrick as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee to turn undue attention to a privatization sideshow that does not address the needs of the overwhelming majority of Texas students.
“Senator Patrick’s priority, private school vouchers, is out of touch with the majority of Texans who want real solutions for students and educators who have been forced by historic education cuts to work in crowded classrooms with inadequate resources.
“Instead of trying to enrich private school operators with tax dollars, the Legislature should expand public educational opportunities for all Texas children. And, the place to start is by restoring the $5.4 billion that was cut from public schools last session, restoring the 25,000 lost school jobs and reducing the size of thousands of overcrowded classrooms.
“Texas families demand a first class public education system, because that is where the vast majority of children will continue to be educated. Wasting time and tax dollars on a narrow, ideological political agenda is not what Texans deserve.”