Charles Foster Johnson, leader of Pastors for Texas Children, reports on the election results and their implications for public schools:

2018 Texas Midterm Election Analysis for Public Education

Thanks to a groundswell of grassroots advocacy efforts during the 2018 electoral season, the Texas Legislature has taken a dramatic step toward the support of universal public education for all children.

The Texas Senate, misled by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, took a demonstrable step away from the narrow anti-public fringe and toward an embrace of their constitutional responsibility to “make suitable provision for public free schools.” A key pro-public education moderate Republican from Amarillo withstood a vicious primary attack from Patrick’s rightwing forces in the spring, and two of his Tea Party allies were replaced with pro-pub education Democrats in Fort Worth and Dallas this week. This effectively strips Patrick of his supermajority of 19 votes required by Senate rules to bring a bill to the floor for a vote.

What this means is that privatization policies will have a much harder time making it past the Senate in the upcoming 2019 legislative session. These bad ideas have prevailed in the Senate, due to Patrick’s strong-arm tactics, only to be squashed by the more moderate Texas House, but Tuesday’s election results make this strategy far less likely.

On the House side, Democrats picked up twelve seats, bringing their total to 67 of 150 members of that chamber. This all but ensures the election of a moderate Speaker of the House like Joe Straus, who is retiring in January. Speaker Straus’ deft leadership helped block Patrick’s voucher and bathroom bills last session. The House is marked by a creative and dynamic alliance of rural Republicans and urban Democrats unified in their opposition to vouchers, troubled by the proliferation of charters, and committed to structural increases in school funding.

An unsung positive sign for public education in Texas was the close race that Mike Collier ran against Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor. With little money or name recognition, Collier waged a robust pro-public education race, and lost by less than four percentage points. This serves a terse notice to Patrick that his anti-public education platform is crumbling.

The cherry on the cake is the passage of key school bond and funding measures in several urban centers.

There is a wonderful resurgence of support for our neighborhood and community public schools in Texas. Public education emerged as the most vocal, visible issue in the midterm campaigns. Those who ran unabashedly in support of it won handily, and those who sounded an uncertain trumpet lost. It is crystal clear that Texans love their public schools, and are prepared to support elected officials who represent them in this conviction—and retire those who don’t.