October 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The Texas legislature is preparing for a fight over whether the state should subsidize religious and other private schools.

State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) is leading the charge for vouchers. In August, he held a one-sided hearing featuring a parade of “school choice” advocates, thereby advancing an issue that had been dormant in the state legislature for several years.

“No student should be locked into a poor performing school because that happens to be where they live,” Patrick said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “I’m a big supporter of public education, and we have a lot of schools that are doing a great job, but we must also recognize the truth that we have a lot of schools that are not performing at the level that they need to be.”

On the other side of the debate, state Rep. Diane Patrick (R-Arlington) deeply opposes the program. She said Texas should be focused on improving aspects of the public school system, such as bolstering magnet and charter schools, rather than dumping money into private schools.   

The American-Statesman noted that the state cut $5.4 billion from public schools in the last legislative session. Americans United will be monitoring the situation.