© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KTXI 90.1 FM is currently on low power after equipment at our transmitter site suffered winter storm damage.
Government/Politics

Texas Lawmakers Are Eyeing Nevada’s School Choice Program

20160914_094142.jpg
Ryan Poppe
Texas Senate Education Committee

 

A school choice program under judicial review in Nevada is also one being considered by Texas lawmakers.  Education leaders are learning about education savings accounts and how they would benefit the state.

 

 

 

According to Nevada State Sen. Scott Hammond, the author of his state’s 2015 “school choice” law, education savings accounts allow parents to save for the cost of their child’s education.  The state transfers 90-percent of the funds the child’s school district would’ve received from the state into that parent’s education savings account. 

 

20160914_094131.jpg
Credit Ryan Poppe
Nevada State Sen. John Hammond testifying before Texas Senate Education committee members.

  On Wednesday, members of the Senate Education Committee asked Hammond to share how this particular program works.

 

“So, , you would get $51-hundred, that would distributed quarterly during the school year and you could then spend it on a variety of programs or institutions pre-approved by our state treasury," Hammond explains.

 

Hammond says those preapproved items could range from the cost of tuition at a private high school to the cost of online courses and instructional materials for students being home-schooled.    

 

But opponents like Charles Luke, who heads up the Coalition of Public Schools argue that an education savings account is just another name for a school voucher, which they say will take state money away from schools already in a financial strain.

  

20160914_130934.jpg
Charles Luke, Texas Coalition of Schools

  "What we don’t need to do is divert public funds away from the public trust and give them to private enterprise, that’s been tried in the Texas prison system with extremely bad results," Luke says.

 

Luke says school choice programs also set up a system of education inequality because not every family can afford the cost of a private school education and there is no mandate that a private school has to accept a student into their school.