88th LegislatureEducationTexas House Committee Hearing Suggests Support for School Choice Among Leadership

The Public Education Committee’s invited witness list suggests smooth sailing for any school choice legislation introduced in 2023.
July 27, 2022
All signs point to passage of school choice legislation in some form in the 2023 Texas legislature, as seen in a committee hearing held at the Texas Capitol last night.

The Public Education Committee of the Texas House held a hearing that ran late into the night, drawing over a hundred citizens to testify.

The list of committee-approved topics and invited witnesses is more telling.

In addition to a lengthy segment on job training in Texas public education, the committee invited testifiers to speak on the Texas curriculum and parental rights in education, the two topics that drew the most public testimony.

Invited speakers on the topic “Parental Empowerment” included school choice advocates Corey DeAngelis of the American Federation for Children and Rod Page of Liberty for the Kids.

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Additionally, rankling the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), no teachers’ unions were called to testify. The AFT, one of America’s foremost teachers’ associations, opposes school choice.

The committee did hear from school employees in leadership roles, including BASIS Texas Charter School Executive Director Andrew Freeman and Aledo ISD Superintendent Susan Bohn.

Transparency, choice, and curriculum have garnered heightened political attention in recent months, materially affecting local elections. Historical data and election advertisements suggest that these topics played a role in bond elections and school board races in both November and May.

These elections also saw unprecedented attention from politicians up to the federal level and massive funding dumps.

Equally unprecedented was Abbott’s campaign trail promise to pursue school choice in the upcoming 2023 Texas legislature.

Committees are a major hurdle for any bill in the Texas legislature. Texas House procedure vests committee chairs with substantial authority: chairmen can kill bills by letting them languish without a committee hearing or rush them through the process.

By the time of publication, Dutton could not be reached for comment. However, the committee’s invited witness list suggests smooth sailing for any school choice legislation introduced in 2023, at least through the Public Education Committee.

School choice putatively enjoys support among state leadership as well. On the other side of the capitol, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has maintained constant support for school choice, boasting in a May press release that the Texas Senate has twice passed choice legislation during his time as lieutenant governor.

Patrick released his statement to support Abbott’s campaign trail promise, ostensibly showing agreement at the top level of Texas politics.

However, despite Abbott’s recent support for school choice, many of the candidates he endorsed for Texas House oppose it.


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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.