Make Texas Education Great Again! - Don Huffines for Texas Senate

  

Make Texas Education Great Again!

This week, as your Texas Legislature gets to work for you, I have been focused on giving Texas students and parents the best education opportunities possible!

 

This is National School Choice Week, and we celebrated in Austin with a rally on the South Steps of the Capitol. Following the inspiring and energetic rally, I'm more fired up than ever before to deliver education choice for Texas parents and students. Thousands of students cheered us on, and millions more are counting on us to deliver results! I’m a big supporter of the Education Savings Account model of education choice, which will empower parents with innovative and customizable opportunities to meet the unique needs of each Texas student. We have more than 30 studies that show that robust education choice programs increase outcomes for all students, whether they participate in the school choice program or not. In short, there’s no better way to improve traditional public schools than by offering education choice!

As we expand education choice this session, we must build a permanent and rock-solid wall that prevents state government from regulating the education that goes in a private school or a homeschool setting. Regulatory creep will negatively affect private schools and will limit parents' right to choose to homeschool their children. It's not the government's business. That’s why I filed a proposed constitutional amendment to protect private schools and home school families from state regulations (SJR 33).

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School choice means so much more than just private schools! It means high-performing charter schools and public school choice, too! That’s why I filed Senate Bill 610 to expand the state’s existing Texas Virtual School Network to students in Kindergarten through Second Grade. 

While we advance all forms of education choice, we also need to improve traditional public schools, too. I filed bills to allow Districts of Innovation to provide different standardized testing options to meet their students’ needs (SB 606); to lift the arbitrary class-size restriction on third and fourth grade classrooms so superintendents and principals can better manage their schools (SB 608); and to end the little-used and counterproductive practice of continuing teacher contracts, giving superintendents more flexibility to manage their workforce (SB 609). 

School finance is badly broken, and the Texas Senate is going to work toward a permanent solution. Until the Legislature completely ends "Robin Hood" - which is a goal I will aggressively pursue - we must reform it with sensible limitations so more local dollars can stay in local districts where parents live, work, and build a sense of community that contributes to successful schools. I filed two bills to that end: SB 603 and SB 604.

Finally, we need to empower parents to fight back against Common Core and other misguided or inappropriate classroom materials. Parents deserve more public notice, more information, and a longer opportunity to review proposed materials before a local district adopts it and places in front of their children. I trust parents to make sure bad ideas and bad curriculum stay out of Texas classrooms, and my SB 605 will give parents the tools they need to be effective watchdogs on behalf of their kids.

Improving public schools and advancing education choice for Texas students and parents go hand-in-hand! They’re a win-win that will lead to better educational outcomes for students and a brighter future for Texas. 

Pulse

Tatonka Gilbert just joined.