Patrick: School Choice Is Key to Texas’ Successful Future

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick | Image by Joe Timmerman/The Texas Tribune

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick delivered a strong message about school choice during a Metroplex Civic and Business Association luncheon in Dallas on Tuesday.

Patrick began his speech by reciting the “Ballad of the Alamo,” a poem about the Lone Star State’s cultural heritage and what it means to fight for independence, freedom, and liberty.

Regarding school choice, he suggested that legislators are fighting to reform Texas’ education system in a manner that empowers parents and develops the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“We have schools that are perennial failures,” said Patrick. “What do you expect when you send a child to a school that’s been a failure forever? They’re going to fail.”

According to him, the best way to fix our failing districts is to pass legislation that injects competition into the school system.

“The biggest thing you have in business to get better is competition. That’s why we need charter schools, homeschooling, and now school choice. And we will pass it,” he said. “We’re gonna pass school choice next year, and all those people in the Texas House who killed that bill, Gov. Abbott warned them … about voting against school choice.”

As reported by The Dallas Express, school choice was one of the top policies heading into this year’s Republican primary.

In general, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not endorse the candidates who failed to support school choice in their election bid. This ultimately contributed to 11 incumbents losing their seats in the Texas House of Representatives and eight incumbents facing challengers in runoff elections on May 28.

Regardless of the runoff elections, school choice will continue to be one of the top issues in Texas until it gets passed, explained Mandy Drogin, campaign director for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Drogin previously told DX that the goal of school choice is not to empower the government to step in and take over or assert its influence. Instead, she said it was about giving parents autonomy to choose how they want their children to be educated.

“Texas is closer than ever to delivering on the promise that every parent be in control of their child’s education,” Drogin said in a statement. “The progress made in the last session has only emboldened and invigorated the school choice movement, and it is spoiling for another fight.”

While lawmakers have passed legislation in the Senate banning the use of taxpayer-funded lobbying against school choice, Patrick told The Dallas Express in an exclusive interview that Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan and his team “continue to kill it in the House.”

“We have nine House runoffs right now and will win at least seven of those,” Patrick said. “One of those is the Speaker, of course, so we hope they’ve gotten the message.”

Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) is currently in a runoff against Republican challenger David Covey, in part due to his stance against school choice.

“A lot of these reps that voted to kill school choice reform were warned by the governor then acted surprised when he came after them in the primaries,” Patrick added.

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