school vouchers

Ryan E. Poppe

A bill that would allow businesses to fund students’ education at a private school passes out of the Texas Senate. Although the bill’s author says his legislation creates a scholarship program, others in the senate call it a public school voucher bill.

Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor is a Republican from Friendswood and has authored a bill that would provide state tax benefits to companies that set up scholarship funds so that students attending public school could attend a nearby private school.

Phil Gramm

Senate education leaders heard both sides of an argument to bring a private school voucher-system to the state on Thursday. Some of that testimony included hearing former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, who spoke out very strongly in favor of the bill.

Gramm has been a longtime advocate for private school vouchers. He was invited to speak in front of the Senate’s Education Committee on New Braunfels Republican Sen. Donna Campbell’s bill.

Dan Patrick via YouTube

AUSTIN — A Texas Senate education panel is considering a sweeping but divisive voucher plan that would let families get state funding to send their children to private and religious schools.

The proposal championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor promotes what they call “school choice” by letting parents remove students from struggling public schools.

The plan will be heard Thursday in Taylor’s committee, which is likely to eventually approve it to the full Senate.

Ryan E. Poppe

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Friendswood Republican Sen. Larry Taylor, the head of the state Senate’s education committee, have identified six education-related bills to be fast-tracked through the Senate, but that priority list does not include a controversial bill that would legalize school choice programs in Texas.

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

The term “school choice” could mean different things to different people. This legislative session, the term will be used to describe plans that would allow parents to choose private schools and pay for that tuition with public education dollars.

Critics call that kind of choice a “voucher,” and in their view, those public dollars would be put to better use differently.