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In their third inaugural address on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, drew focus to “parental rights,” a.k.a. Vouchers, in Texas schools.
Both were sworn in for a third term on the north steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin – Abbott and Patrick were first elected to their current positions in 2014.
“Governor, we have done it again,” Patrick said to Abbott. “Three-peat.”
Their speeches were somewhat aligned in what their Texas Legislature priorities are, which include: infrastructure (pitching focus to the power grid), education and public safety.
When it came to education, Abbott said he wanted the Lone Star State to be “the knowledge capital of America,” seemingly forgetting Texas is lacking educators and funding.
The Governor also said schools should be “for education, not indoctrination” and that they should get “back to teaching our students the fundamentals.” For Abbott this means straying away from whomever is trying to push a “social agenda” that doesn’t align with his values.
For Patrick “straying away” goes as far as targeting tenure for public college professors in Texas who teach critical race theory. He said he was fine if it meant that Texas lost out on professors who he said, for example, prefer socialism to capitalism, as reported by The Texas Tribune. “I want professors who love this country, who love this state,” Patrick said.
“All In” on Vouchers
Abbott also talked about school choice – or vouchers that allow parents to use taxpayers dollars to send their kids to private schools – saying Texas needs to empower parents who: “deserve the freedom to choose the education that’s best for their child.”
In his speech, Patrick also stated Abbott and himself are “all in on school choice,” going out of his way to mention that rural schools will be protected under any school choice/voucher plan.
“To the naysayers that say school choice hurts rural Texas, the governor and I will have a plan to protect those schools financially and to make sure those parents have choice also where they are in a failing school,” Patrick said.
Both have argued in the past that giving families options will not hurt public schools, however public education advocates have argued vouchers undermine the state’s public education system.
What a school choice plan would look like is yet to be determined.