Dear Alief ISD Community,
A special session convened in Austin this week with a focus set on dismantling the public school system through “education savings accounts,” i.e. vouchers, program. School funding is currently being held hostage unless this measure is passed. Quite frankly, or to put it plainly, vouchers will put the final nail in the coffin for Texas public schools; forcing many to close for lack of funding. The voucher plan lacks accountability that as a parent and taxpayer, you deserve to have. So what do we know?
- School choice already exists in Texas.
- Schools receiving vouchers are not accountable to parents or taxpayers.
- Texas’ experience with charter schools highlights opportunities for abuse.
- Vouchers drain needed dollars from all public schools.
- Vouchers would pay for students already attending private and home schools.
Unlike public schools, private schools are held to a very different standard:
- They are not required to provide accommodations for students with disabilities or to accept all students.
- Private schools are not required to give the STAAR test
- They are not required to publicly report their spending.
- They do not have to comply with open meeting and record laws.
- They are not required to adhere to the same safety standards as traditional schools.
- There will be very little oversight for the anticipated $8,000 that families will be able to use for private schools.
- The litany of oversight that Texas public schools must abide by, including the rigorous standardized testing process, certification of teachers, etc. will not be required for private schools.
- Because of record inflation, public schools need more than $14 billion in new per-student funding to have the same buying power as in 2019. Sadly, the state only provided $2.6 billion during the regular session.
- It is unclear at present whether private schools will have any admission criteria for voucher usage.
What can you do? Please contact your state legislators. Research and stay on top of what is happening in Austin. Please reach out to your elected officials as often as possible and urge them to support Alief ISD and Texas public schools. Visit theEducation Advocacy Center website, enter your home address and have an email sent directly to your senator or state representative. The only way our children will be successful and our school districts will remain competitive is with your help.
Thank you for your continuous support of Alief ISD and Texas public schools and we will continue to share information with you in the coming weeks.
Dr. Anthony Mays
Superintendent of Schools