Voucher bills are nothing new for the Legislature
Near the start of this year’s legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stood on the Capitol’s steps and exhorted lawmakers in the House and Senate to vote on “school choice” legislation, saying it’s “easy to kill a bill when no one gets to vote on it.”
An advocacy group opposed to using public money to support students going to private and religious schools urged a different course. In a press release, the Coalition for Public Schools, which says it represents religious, child advocacy and education organizations, urged the Legislature to “focus its efforts on providing support for our neighborhood public schools instead of funneling public tax dollars to (private school) voucher schemes with little or no accountability for how our tax dollars are spent.”
The eight-paragraph release closed with a historical claim: “Texas legislators have filed voucher proposals in every legislative session since 1995, but all of them have failed to become law.”
That’d be a big 0 for 11 for voucher proponents because state lawmakers convene in regular session every odd-numbered year. We decided to check the record. Wondering how the coalition reached its conclusion, we contacted a member, the Texas Freedom Network, which emailed us a web link to a 2007 network report including an appendix listing Texas “voucher legislation” dating to 1993.
We paused to cover some definitions. Huriya Jabbar, a University of Texas professor of educa-