Texas House Public Education Committee Chair optimistic about passing school choice legislation

State Representative Brad Buckley is optimistic about the prospects of passing a version of “school choice” in the Texas House during the upcoming special legislative session. The session, which will focus on public education and school vouchers, is set to begin on October 9th. Buckley, a Republican and the chair of the Public Education Committee, believes that some previously opposed lawmakers are now open to considering proposals related to school choice.

In an interview with WFAA’s Jason Whitely on Inside Texas Politics, Buckley expressed confidence in reaching a consensus on this contentious issue. He revealed that he has engaged in numerous conversations with lawmakers from across the state, and some of those who were previously against school vouchers have now joined the discussion table. Buckley, who hails from Salado in central Texas, considers himself a “quasi-rural” Republican and has a personal connection to public education, with his family’s background and his wife’s role as an assistant superintendent at Killeen ISD.

To find common ground, Buckley suggests adopting a carrot-and-stick approach that emphasizes compromise. He believes that addressing key concerns such as teacher pay raises, school safety funding, and the basic allotment, which refers to the amount of money provided by the state to districts per student in average daily attendance, could help deliver high-quality education to Texas students. These issues, according to Buckley, have the potential to sway some lawmakers who were previously opposed to school vouchers.

Additionally, Buckley asserts that it is crucial to address the accountability system in schools. He advocates for a more comprehensive and practical approach that enables parents to have a better understanding of their children’s progress and whether they are meeting the required standards. By identifying and addressing any gaps in achievement, Buckley aims to ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed.

The upcoming special session will not only focus on education but will also cover topics such as border security, public safety, and the lifting of COVID restrictions. It is scheduled to commence at 1 p.m. on October 9th. With potential shifts in lawmakers’ perspectives and a willingness to engage in meaningful discussions, there is hope for progress in the realm of school choice in Texas.

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