Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have been pushing voucher legislation hard this year. Texas is one of the few red states that has not adopted voucher legislation for religious and private school tuition. The big stumbling block in the past has been a sturdy coalition of urban Democrats and rural Republicans.

Writing for ReformAustin, Jovanka Palacios explains here what Governor Abbott does not understand about rural schools.

Gov. Greg Abbott believes that touring rural areas where Republican members of the Texas House or Senate are against vouchers is enough to get them and their constituents on board with the “school choice” idea. But he seems to be overlooking one small detail: “rural public schools are the lifeblood of their communities.”

Keith Bryant, Superintendent of Schools in Lubbock-Cooper ISD, illustrates the effect of a voucher program in rural public schools best:

“They are unifiers, gathering places, and information providers. Many times they are the largest employers in their communities, and, often, school events are the largest draw of visitors to their towns. Disruptions to funding for rural schools are disruptions to the fabric of life in rural communities.”

In a state where the money follows the child, students dropping out of public schools would inevitably affect – an already scarce – budget. Those who oppose a “school choice” program argue that the Legislature should focus on increasing public school education funding, instead of diverting those dollars into a system that holds no accountability.

School funding isn’t that complex, Bryant told RA News, who explains school funding as a pie that everyone in public schools in Texas is sharing.

“Every public school in Texas is sharing this pie. If someone takes a slice out of the pie to fund vouchers for private schools or homeschooling, there is less pie remaining for Texas public schools.”

Open up the link at the Network for Public Education blog, where you will see the article as well as a link to the original.

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