The Trib reports that Senator Dan Patrick’s school choice bill has passed the Senate–again, with the support of all 12 Democrats. The final vote, 30-1, was only opposed by one Republican for, what I presume, was not going far enough (it was Robert Nichols). Royce West, who at one point opposed Patrick’s bill, came around to be supportive when the bill was watered down a little bit. Essentially, the bill isn’t all that bad, let me explain.
First, Patrick’s proposal to lift the cap on Charter Schools was pulled, and in its place the cap will increase, but it will still exist. It also focuses heavily on closing down poor preforming Charters, using it as a quid-pro-quo for opening up more Charters. There was still criticism from the Left for the measure, keeping with the idea that while education is woefully underfunded, we are still spending money on this.
In my opinion, it is a good compromise. It could have been a lot worse. They did not try to voucherize the education system, that was worst case scenario. I’ve always had a little bit more Friedman-esque of a position on education reform, by any chance. I attended private school for Junior & Senior High School, and feel like a bit of a hypocrite if I say that individuals condemned to poor School zones should not get the chance to receive a quality education. No, I do not hate teachers (my mother is a teacher), but I do think that the Teacher’s Unions sometimes defend pretty stupid positions (For the record, I don’t think arguing that teachers in Houston are underpaid is a bad position; I mean more along the lines of opposing performance-based bonus pay). Anyways, the measure now heads to the House.