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This article was written by Dan Currie, a member of Pastors for Texas Children. He explains that the real goal of the school choice movement is to eliminate public schools.
Many years ago, Jerry Falwell articulated the goal of the school choice movement well when he said, “I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!”
Since the beginning of the religious right movement with Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson and others, the aim has been to destroy public education in America. Today they are closer than ever to achieving their goal because it is now being promoted by the president, his education secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican leaders in Texas government including the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and land commissioner.
This is what you have elected in Texas, my friends, by choosing party over sanity.
Vouchers, school choice, education savings accounts — they are all code words intended to mask the real aim of this movement: destroy public education in America and turn all schools into institutions of religious indoctrination.
Trump’s intentions are clear. His first choice for Secretary of Education was Jerry Falwell, Jr., according to Falwell himself. Trump sent his own children to private schools where the tuition is $50,000 a year or more. No voucher would allow a student to attend those schools.
Currie writes about the destructive effect that vouchers would have on public schools in his own home county:
I live in the Wall ISD. If 20 students get $5,000 apiece to leave the public school to attend a private school, Wall ISD will lose close to $130,000 that can’t be replaced. That money is just lost. No teacher can be fired, no bus route stopped, no money on utilities saved — they just lose the money.
So let me speak bluntly to my friends in the Wall ISD (and you can apply this to any ISD in our area) — when you keep electing right-wing, religious right Republicans at the state and national level, you are voting to close our schools. Please figure that out before it’s too late.
The Texas Senate passed voucher legislation, by a vote of 18-13. It was defeated overwhelmingly by a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives. Given that vouchers are the personal obsession of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, expect this zombie to rise again.