School/Parental Choice in Texas
School choice, also known as parental choice, gives parents more options for their children’s education and allows them to choose the school that best meets their needs. There is a current initiative to push for Texas to allocate $500,000,000 towards an Education Savings Account (ESA program), which would allow parents to access public state funds to send their children to private schools or to use the funds for other educational expenses (i.e., school uniforms, school supplies, etc.).
Proponents of school choice, led by Governor Greg Abbott, argue that an ESA program would give parents more options for their children’s education and allow them to choose the school that best meets their needs. Opponents of school choice, led by many Democrats and some rural Republicans, argue that an ESA program would take money away from public schools and harm the quality of education for all students.
We at TPSA have studied this issue extensively and know that implementing a school choice program will NOT harm public schools, but rather they improve when these programs are in place. Currently, 32 other states have a private school choice program of some description. A special legislative session on the topic is expected to occur in October.
Want to get involved? Contact your local state representative now to let them know you support parental choice in Texas. This website is an easy way to do that as well as register to get more information.
Proposed ESA Program
Proponents of the ESA program are pushing for the following key points to be included in the potential bill:
- $8,000-$10,000 offered per child—about 50,000-60,000 kids will be funded across the state.
- Only accredited private schools may participate; no unaccredited schools are allowed to participate.
- Must have religious liberty protections and private school autonomy language.
- Student Priorities: (1) low-income children; (2) special needs children; (3) other students if money remains.
For more information about school/parental choice in Texas, please consult these resources:
- School/Parental Choice Myths and Facts (PDF)
- Private Schools Are Ready for Parental Choice (PDF)
- Private Schools Accreditation Process (PDF)
- Texas Tribune Parental Choice Panel Discussion (February 16, 2023)
- NBC Dallas-Fort Worth Article: Report Previews Battle Over Public Money to Private & Home Schools