The contentious issue of education vouchers appears to be shelved for the current session.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, displaying a keen understanding of legislative dynamics, has redirected the spotlight toward prioritizing teacher pay raises before the special session concludes, as first reported by The Quorum Report.
Throughout the year, tensions within the public education community have simmered due to Gov. Greg Abbott’s insistence on tying the state’s record budget surplus to education vouchers. These vouchers, aimed at supporting private schools, faced widespread opposition, leading to a legislative impasse.
Lt. Gov. Patrick’s move to shift the focus towards teacher pay raises reflects a pragmatic approach to finding common ground in the legislative process. According to Scott Braddock from the Quorum report, Patrick knows how to play “legislative chess better than either of his negotiating partners.”
Patrick’s decision to separate school finance and vouchers, finally acknowledges the urgency of addressing immediate concerns within the education system, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the fate of education vouchers remains uncertain for now, Braddock reminds us that it is “fatalist to think that nothing can be accomplished even if Abbott’s priority of vouchers is dead for now.”
Abbott has said in the past that he will continue to fight four vouchers, campaigning against all the legislators who voted against his proposal during the next election season.