Read the headline one more time, with sarcasm dripping from each syllable, and you’ll get a sense for how I feel about this. For six years, in every eligible election, the Texas Parent PAC has gone to the mattresses to defeat proponents of school choice. They repeat voter-friendly lines about being “for the children” and “representing parents,” while taking money from the bureaucrats who run the system and lawyers seeking to make money off suing the state. Meanwhile, candidates who truly want to work for the children are defeated unceremoniously in primary and general elections.
Contributors to the Texas Parent PAC continue to be taxpayer-funded lobbyists, school board members, superintendents (too many to list), former legislators, lawyers representing the schools suing the state, and liberal legislators (and their wives and chiefs of staff). And November 6, 2012, was this PAC’s best election day so far.
Doom and gloom? For the kids stuck in one-size-fits-all schools, it certainly is. For the parents whose property taxes continue to skyrocket, forcing them to keep with the status quo instead of seeking new options for their kids, it definitely is.
This coming legislative session promises to be a big one for education, between the drama over school finance playing out in the courts before being punted back to the pink dome, the looming fight over the STAAR test and other academic accountability measures, and of course, the ever-popular school choice issue. Whether we’re talking charter school caps, taxpayer savings grants, or other issues surrounding choice, the Texas Parent PAC has stated their unequivocal opposition to anything but purely public schools, and dumping as much money lying around into them as possible. The trouble is, there isn’t an unending pot of gold, and real solutions have to be presented to give individual kids the best chance possible.
Texas Parent PAC candidates have proven for awhile now that it doesn’t take a majority to steer the conversation in Austin, just a tireless, well-funded minority. For every dollar the superintendents dumped into that PAC, however, there should be one irate, tireless grassroots advocate for school choice. Last spring, the majority party in Texas overwhelmingly supported the idea of taxpayer savings grants, and they should go one step further than voting and make their voices heard with their legislators as soon as possible.