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Rural Conservatives And Some Homeschool Advocates Steadfastly Oppose Vouchers

While public school administrators plan budgets for the upcoming school year that mandate layoffs and loss of services, rural and metro area districts face the grim reality that the state legislature continues to fail to provide adequate funding, choosing to hold funding hostage to pro-voucher advocates in the state.

The recently formed group, Rural Texas Conservative Coalition, was onhand in the exhibit hall at the Texas GOP convention in San Antonio in May to urge support for public schools. A voucher program financially could prove disastrous for rural communities.  

The group’s  website says that rural public schools have faced numerous challenges that threaten the quality of education and the very existence of rural communities. They were launched just in time for the 2024 convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center to voice opposition to the pro-voucher elements in the party.

In most rural areas, the public school district or system is the largest employer in the community. So taking money from public schools, as vouchers would do, would create a huge negative impact on rural schools and could devastate the entire area

“By advocating for increased funding, resources, and support for rural education, we can provide our students with the tools they need to thrive. From small class sizes to personalized instruction, rural public schools offer a unique learning environment that we must continue to invest in and support,” the website states. 

Some metro area advocates in favor of vouchers

Education Savings Accounts, also known as vouchers, will once again be a priority for the upcoming Texas Legislative session in January 2025 if Josh Posey, Houston area delegate to the Texas GOP Convention, has his say on party priorities.

Posey is a school choice advocate in favor of ESA’s, homeschooling and parental rights in Texas schools, and made his voice heard outside the main convention hall doors during the convention that concluded over the Memorial Day weekend.

But Posey is not in favor of an unregulated approach to the education options proposed by GOP lawmakers in the 2023 legislative session. 

“I’m not for unchecked everything. And we have to have a method of two kinds of accountability—financial and academic accountability,” Posey said.

Posey served on the legislative priority subcommittee for the Republican Party of Texas last year for parental rights and educational freedom, and said that multiple bills were proposed but all ultimately failed because of disagreement over how to manage ESA accountability. 

Posey advocates for a program modeled on similar programs in other states, and believes that if the Texas Comptroller’s office were to handle the accounts it would be successful. 

“An ESA through the comptroller’s office is going to protect that money, it won’t be handed directly to families to reduce fraud. And the IRS will audit those expenses and an education savings account to make sure that you use it on education related expenses, and it doesn’t involve the citizen in that audit. If the comptroller keeps that in an ESA the comptroller’s office would also put together a portal so that all the transactions happen through a portal,” Posey said. 

Some homeschool advocates also oppose vouchers

However, Posey explained that other party leaders and homeschool advocates prefer other methods and little accountability—financial or academic. 

“This is where people get upset because some homeschoolers really don’t like to test, which is fine. My suggestion is don’t enroll in the program—keep doing what you’re doing and stay away from the program. But at my house we test our children, because I want to measure whether they retain the information,” Posey said.

However, homeschool advocates are opponents of his plan, Posey said, and inaccurately believe they would have to administer the STAAR test to their children. 

“The Texas Homeschool Coalition, the state’s largest homeschooling group, has a list of nearly 16 [alternative] tests that you can give your students… and so if you have a student like I have one in high school that doesn’t test well, you can choose one that will give you a better advantage,” Posey said.

Dave Manning
Dave Manning
Dave Manning is a content creation professional with a background in multiple forms of media and communications. As a former university publications editor, staff, and freelance writer, he has created content for newspapers, magazines, and online media sites. He has also created content, both written and digital, for small businesses, global corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Aside from being a regular contributor to RA News, he is currently working on a novel for digital publication.


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