Vikki Goodwin, Sarah Eckhardt decry SB1 as bad for kids, bad for parents, bad for Texas
While Democrats work to save and bolster our public schools and teachers, the Grim Other Party seems intent on destroying them. And the proposed program is the epitome of wasteful spending, lining the pockets of various individuals, rather than enhancing education, Dems say.
Texas state Rep Vikki Goodwin, House District 47, and state Sen Sarah Eckhardt, District 19, both have taken bold stands against the anti-public school SB1, passed by the Texas Senate. The two Democrats represented Lago Vista until the 2020 redistricting.
Noted Goodwin, “If you've been thinking Governor Abbott and Lt Governor Patrick's big money voucher scam is a way for a few individuals to make a lot of money off our kids, you are correct!”
Said Eckhardt, “This is private schools’ choice, not parents’ school choice. With or without this bill, private schools get to choose their students, choose their curriculum, choose their goals and measures of success and choose their price point.
“Giving state dollars to unaccountable private schools at the expense of public schools is a disservice to the vast majority of Texas kids and their families who could never choose or get chosen by private schools.”
SB1: Ripoff admin fees
SB1, said Goodwin, would set aside 8 percent of the $500 million tax dollars going to private schools to go toward administering that money. Per the plan, $25 million would go to a third-party company just to oversee sending the dollars to private schools. Another $15 million would go to the Comptroller to oversee the same program.
‘Where there is money to be made, someone will be there to make it,” Goodwin quipped. “This administrative cost, of course, is at the expense of our kids.”
Goodwin recently published an op-ed on the topic in the Austin Chronicle (1).
Not only are our students at risk of losing resources needed for their education but our teachers' jobs and retirement are also at risk, Goodwin warned.
“The plan, as written, would allow for one percent of current students to switch from public to private school at taxpayer cost. So, if just one percent of students switched, that could mean a decrease of over 30 teaching positions in AISD,” she explained. “That's a decrease in payments into the Teacher Retirement System, too.”
Eckhardt’s office has heard from constituents and folks from across Texas. The upshot: They do not want vouchers.
Dems SB40 would raise teacher pay, keep tax $$ in public schools
“Texans want to see the state fully fund our public education system by keeping tax dollars in public schools, raising the basic allotment to keep pace with inflation, and giving our educators the long overdue pay raises they deserve — all items prioritized in the Senate Democratic Caucus’ SB 40,” she said.
Instead, she added, SB1 “will accelerate the starvation of our beloved Texas public schools, reneging on the State’s constitutional obligation to provide every child a well-funded and ‘efficient system of public free schools’.”
Public Education is the single greatest force for personal and social economic development the world has ever seen, Eckhardt added.
“It is a uniquely American innovation that deserves the state’s full commitment. In addition to opening doors of opportunity for their children, the creation of public education allowed many parents, and especially women, the opportunity to seek higher education and a career outside the home.”
She quips wryly: “Everything is bigger in Texas, including our failure to fully fund our obligations to every Texas student.”
Goodwin’s reelection campaign begins on Nov 3. Help her, if you can.
Vicki Goodwin editorial in the Austin Chronicle: https://tinyurl.com/mr3czh2d