A group of 20 members of the GOP in the Texas House of Representatives decided to vote against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s school choice initiative, which has led him to throw his support behind their primary challengers who are vying for their seats in upcoming elections, according to a report from the Daily Caller.
Check out further details from the DC:
The Texas Legislature held a fourth special legislative session to address school choice on Dec. 5, which failed to establish school vouchers one day after a failed third session on Nov. 5 for the same reason. Over 20 Texas House Republicans voted against Abbott’s school vouchers program in the fourth legislative session, and now Abbott is endorsing a primary challenger against every single one of them who is running for reelection, according to Texas Score Card.
“School choice enjoys broad support in Texas and has picked up considerable momentum. Governor Abbott has been one of the country’s most vocal champions of school choice, and the Texas Senate passed school choice four times this year. The Texas House remains entrenched with teachers’ unions and special interests. The teachers’ unions endorsed 18 of the 21 Republicans who voted to strip ESAs during their last election,” Nathan Cunneen, a spokesperson who represents the American Federation for Children, an organization working to aid advocates for school choice in the U.S., went on to say to the DCNF.
An October survey found that 49% of Texans support using taxpayer money for school vouchers to help low-income parents and 27% oppose vouchers, according to the University of Houston. One poll in October revealed that 51% of Texans support “establishing a voucher, educational savings account, or other ‘school choice’ program in Texas,” and 30% of Texans opposed, according to the Texas Politics Project.
Republican Texas state Rep. Glenn Rogers is an opponent of Abbott’s school choice plans, as is Republican Texas state Rep. Steve Allison, according to Texas Score Card. Abbott endorsed Mike Olcott, a primary challenger to Rogers, and Marc Lahood, a primary challenger to Allison. Both Olcott and Lahood are pro-school choice, according to Texas Score Card.
Texas State Rep. Hugh Shine, a Republican, cast a ballot against the school choice measure, and as a result, Abbott is now backing Hillary Hickland, who is a mom and activist, for his seat in the House.
“Your current state representative went not only against those 89% of the Republicans that wanted school choice, but he did so by joining with all of the Democrats, voting against a Republican priority,” Abbott remarked during an event for Hickland.
“Every family deserves to choose where and how their child will learn. Teacher unions know they cannot defend the outcomes of failing public schools, so they spend big to make sure families remain trapped in schools assigned by the government. Evidence suggests that when school choice is available, public schools actually improve because they must compete with other options,” Angela Morabito, Defense for Freedom Institute spokesperson, explained to the folks at the DCNF.
This is not anything new for Abbott. He’s been a fan of school choice for a very long time and has often encouraged voters in the state to get in touch with legislator concerning school choice voucher programs. He called for immediate legislative action to be taken back in February during his State of the State address, referring to these programs as an “emergency item.”
“This issue is so vital to the future of our state I am making education freedom an emergency item this session,” Abbott explained during his speech.
“Abbott is also a proponent of parental rights and has signed several bills aimed at extending them, including legislation that would allow parents to view classroom materials, remove books that are inappropriate from school libraries, provide support to special needs students and allow parents to choose if their child should repeat a grade,” the Daily Caller said.
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