Statement by Peggy Venable, Texas Director, Americans for Prosperity
Public Education Plus Plan: K-12 Education Innovation for Texas
AUSTIN – An education reform agenda being released by Americans for Prosperity-Texas encourages innovation and empowers parents.
“We want to put parents in charge of their kids’ education,” said Peggy Venable. “Education dollars should follow the student to the school the parents choose. No child’s educational options should be limited by their zip code.”
While the Texas Constitution requires the state to pay for an efficient system of schools, we believe that parents, not government, should select the schools.
AFP believes that parents of children enrolled in failing public schools should have the choice to enroll their children in another public, charter or private school, with the students’ education funding redirected to the school of the parents’ choice.
AFP supports lifting the cap on charter schools. The current cap on charter schools limits parental options. Lifting the charter school cap and providing a stronger mechanism for closing failing charter schools must be part of any reform package.
AFP is concerned about the rising ISD debt (statewide it is over $108 billion, more than $20,000/per pupil). We propose that before ISD’s issue bond debt for instructional facilities, they be required to offer scholarships for parents to send their kids to another school, or to home school. We would propose those parents could use online learning or home school and save additional education funds in an education savings account for college, online learning, tuition, or other qualified educational expenses.
AFP also advocates lifting excessive regulations and mandates on public schools and will discourage any additional regulation be placed on private schools or home schooling.
AFP supports the establishment of on line instruction and testing mechanisms that allow children of both public and private schools to utilize on line instruction. Publicly funded education scholarships should be available to cover the cost. The state should develop a qualified testing mechanism to ensure the integrity of on line testing.
AFP-Texas Director Peggy Venable has worked on education policy for over 30 years. She was the first White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Education under President Reagan. She has served for 9 years on the Texas Center for Educational Research.