WHEREAS, the seventh Principle of the Republican Party of Texas, as adopted at the 2022 Republican Party of Texas Convention, is “having an educated population, with parents having the freedom of choice for the education of their children”; and
WHEREAS, in the 2022 Republican Party Primary, 88% of Republican voters agreed that “Texas parents and guardians should have the right to select schools, whether public or private, for their children, and the funding should follow the student”; and
WHEREAS, 32 states and Washington D.C. have already adopted some form of school choice1; and,
WHEREAS, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee have long-standing Educational Savings Account (ESA) programs, which allow some families to apply a designated amount of each student’s school funding to private school tuition or homeschooling expenses; and
WHEREAS, since 2021, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia have adopted ESA programs under the leadership of their Republican Governors and Legislatures; and
WHEREAS, at an event hosted by the Parent Empowerment Coalition at Annapolis Christian Academy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated his unequivocal support for universal ESAs in Texas. In his remarks, Governor Abbott said:
“Parents should not be helpless; they should be able to choose the education option that is best for their child. The way to do that is with ESAs – Education Savings Accounts. We’ve seen them work in other states and we’ve seen them work in the State of Texas also”; and
WHEREAS, in his 2023 inaugural remarks, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick stated that “the Governor and I are all in on school choice,” and that “we are going to pass school choice and I hope, finally, that this is the session that we join over 30 other states in giving parental rights to parents to choose the school of their choice”; and
WHEREAS, Lieutenant Governor Patrick designated SB 8 priority legislation pertaining to “Empowering Parental Rights – Including School Choice”; and
WHEREAS, Speaker Dade Phelan has implied, through his appointments of a chairman and committee members to the House Public Education Committee who support or are open to school choice, that school choice proposals will receive good faith consideration in that Committee and in the Texas House of Representatives; and
WHEREAS, the Parents’ Rights planks of the Republican Party of Texas Platform state:
101. School Choice: Texas families shall be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education, and the funding shall follow the student without strings attached. We also support tax credits and exemptions for education and choice within the public school system.
102. No Regulation of Homeschooling or Private School Curriculum: We oppose any attempt to regulate homeschooling or the curriculum of private or religious schools.
103. Parents’ Rights in Education: Parents are the primary educators and disciplinarians of their children, to which all other entities are inferior. The fundamental rights of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children in all aspects, but especially in all aspects of the Texas education system, shall be recognized, affirmed, and protected by changes to the Texas Constitution and Texas Law, including codifying the protections currently existing in the Texas Family and Education Codes. No public service entity nor its agents, district personnel, community partners, or District Board of Trustees shall infringe upon these rights; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the State Republican Executive Committee supports Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick designating school choice a priority and urges the Texas House and Texas Senate to pass legislation that provides for universal school choice without carve-outs and contains strong protections from government regulation for private schools and homeschools; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State Republican Executive Committee is encouraged to see unprecedented support for school choice coming from our leaders, and applauds the courage shown by Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and the Senators and Representatives who have declared their support for the cause of educational freedom; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, by working together, the leaders, activists, and voters of the Republican Party of Texas are committed to accomplishing the monumental task of joining the other states who have passed school choice and bringing true educational freedom to over six million Texas children.