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  • James Peeler

Gov. Abbott Stumps for School Choice and Parental Rights

- By James Peeler

Gov. Greg Abbott spoke at Denton Calvary Academy Monday night, stumping for Senate Bill 8.

Senate Bill 8 is one of the state’s 15 bills related to education savings accounts and school choice currently moving through the state legislature.

Education saving accounts or ESAs allow parents to withdraw their children from public schools and in return, receive a deposit of $8,000 of taxpayer money reserved for private, charter or homeschooling.

Abbott has made education reform and school choice one of his primary goals for this legislative session.

Discussion and debate of the various bills come as other states pass similar legislation- Florida joins Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Utah and West Virginia in states with a universal ESA program and other legislation related to “parents rights.”

Outside the event were protestors against the bill, some wanting public money kept out of private education, others against school vouchers and others not wanting public money supporting private religious schools.

Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Ph.D., a professor in the Political Science department said that while charter schools give better chances to lower-income students, they don’t help in the long run and that educational savings accounts are effectively just legislation for school choice.

“The $8,000 that the education savings accounts would guarantee would only help out those that can afford it,” Martinez-Ebers said.

“When you factor in textbooks, uniforms, tuition, and transportation $8,000 barely covers it,” Martinez-Ebers added.

While speaking, Abbott spent time rallying against a familiar boogeyman to him and his agenda, “wokeism.”

Abbott believes that educators should spend less time discussing sexuality and gender and more time talking about why and how the United States is where it is today and promoting those causes.

“Our schools are for education, not indoctrination,” Abbott said.

From polling done by The Univesity of Texas, 9% and 8% of registered voters believe that parental choice and school choice legislation should be the priority of the Texas legislature and 17% of registered voters believe that curriculum content should be the priority of the Texas legislature.

Discussion of school choice and legislative involvement in education has increased in the past few years, with it being a campaign pledge during last year’s midterms for many Republican candidates.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R-Va., campaigned on wanting parents to be more involved in their child's education and Gov. Ron DeSantis, R.-Fl., has been a major opponent of “wokeism” in schools, Florida’s legislative body going after a classroom discussion of race, sex, and gender.

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