Sunday, August 26, 2012
Tx GOP Wants To Destroy Public Education
Now the Republicans are planning a new assault on public schools in the next legislative session. This time they plan to increase the number of charter schools, and fund those schools through the use of vouchers. Yes, you read that right -- school vouchers, a ridiculous idea that has been beaten back repeated in the past, is once again rearing its ugly head in Texas. Currently the state allows 215 charter schools, but Republican senators are holding hearings on the efficacy of allowing many more (and funding them with vouchers).
Republicans will be telling us, as they have done in the past, that this is to improve education in the state. That is a lie. The truth is that charter schools don't provide any better education than public schools do -- and that has become clear in the last few years. What many of them do provide is a religious indoctrination -- and that is the real purpose of the new GOP effort. They have always wanted to be able to divert funds from public education into religious schools, and they believe vouchers will allow them to get around the constitutional ban on government financial support for religious education.
And make no mistake -- every voucher dollar that goes to a charter school is a dollar that will be subtracted from public schools. With many public schools already struggling for adequate funding (thanks to the recession, joblessness, and the massive education cuts by the state legislature), a lot of these schools will have to raise local property taxes to make up for voucher dollars lost -- or cease to exist.
The truth is that public education has always been one of the reasons for the success of the United States. It allows everyone, from the poorest to the richest, to have a good education and a better life -- providing a ladder for personal improvement. And the country as a whole is improved by this, because educated people not only pay more taxes but also provide the innovation and expertise to grow the country and keep it competitive in the world market. And no one can deny that our modern world demands more education, not less.
Our legislators should be making free public education a priority, not trying to destroy it. And Texas' teabagger Republican officials should be ashamed of themselves for their relentless efforts to defund public education. Vouchers are a terrible idea that will do nothing but hurt public education. Hopefully, we can beat back this new attack on public education one more time.