AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Gov. Greg Abbott hosted a rally for “parent empowerment” at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, championing his plan to subsidize private education in front of supporters his team brought to Austin by bus from San Antonio and Cypress.
Senate Bill 8 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate education committee on Wednesday. That legislation, which Abbott calls the “parental bill of rights,” would create education savings accounts that the state would fund with $8,000 per eligible family to send their children to private school.
Abbott said Texas would increase funding for public education this session, while also criticizing unspecified policies in public schools, claims that harm transparency and teach harmful material.
“Our children are taught a radical, wake-up agenda,” Abbott told the crowd. “Listen, there’s no reason a student should be forced to have a smart agenda. Our schools are for education, not indoctrination.”
Advocates with children in public and private schools echoed those concerns after her speech. Their concerns stemmed from conservative arguments that schools are “indoctrinating” students with liberal ideologies or “critical race theory,” which is an advanced legal framework for examining the role of race in society and is not in the K-curriculum. 12 of Texas.
The plan for “school choice” or “school vouchers,” as opponents call it, is met with nearly unanimous opposition from Democrats in the legislature. It also faces ardent opposition from many Republicans, who fear the plan could siphon money from rural school districts that have no private alternatives.
KXAN is speaking with Bartlett ISD, a rural school district of 380 students per hour north of Austin, about how it expects an education savings plan to impact them.
This is an ongoing story and will be updated throughout the day with our latest reports.