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Just two men are preventing school choice in Texas


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(NaturalNews) A stubborn billionaire and a bought-out politician are preventing Texas parents from having a choice in how to best educate their children.

Charles Butt, the H-E-B supermarket mogul and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus are using their combined political influence to make sure the state does not pass any legislation allowing school choice vouchers.

Straus, with the financial backing of Butt through campaign contributions and PACs that the latter funded, has managed to block any meaningful attempts to improve the quality of education in a state that desperately needs education reform.

The support of lawmakers whose campaigns Butt funded have allowed these two men to protect an educational monopoly in Texas. Their combined influence caused the school choice bill SB4 - which was passed by a large margin in the Senate - to be struck down by the House Education Committee.

The committee happens to be staffed with anti-choice lawmakers who have received contributions from the Texas Parent PAC, towards which Butt has contributed $1,498,000.

Butt also gave $168,000 to Straus's election campaign, and the Parent PAC contributed to three members of the House Education Committee.

Another Butt-funded PAC called Raise Your Hand Texas is also doing its best to block education reform while campaigning for more public school spending.

Lead organizer Randan Steinhauser of the Texas School Choice Coalition says:

The reality is that Raise Your Hand Texas is an organization focused on protecting the status quo. They do not want to empower parents and, more than anything, they do not want children to have educational options.

It seems that Butt, Straus and their cronies believe that throwing money at a failing educational system is a better approach than allowing parents to have a say in what type of education their children have access to.

Texas parents wising up

Meanwhile, it appears that Texas parents are becoming wise to the political shenanigans and that these guys' days may be numbered.

As Steinhauser put it:

With more than 100,000 students on charter school wait lists, it's clear that parents in Texas want options. And shame on Joe Straus for standing in their way.

More and more parents in the state are speaking out in favor of school choice, and it appears that at least some of the politicians are listening.

For example, Jeff Judson, who will challenge Straus in the upcoming Republican primaries, said:

A majority of states have enacted school choice programs, but not Texas. School choice is a priority of the Republican Party, is supported by huge majorities of Republican voters, was a priority of the lieutenant governor — and passed with a bipartisan super-majority in the Senate. But under Joe Straus, it did not even get a hearing in the House.

Who does Joe represent when he blocks such a popular bill?

The answer to that rhetorical question is that Joe represents cronies, lobbyists, billionaires and teachers' unions.

For the record, test scores in Texas for SAT and National Assessment of Educational Progress exams are "flat or falling," according to Watchdog.org.

Texas has always had a reputation for crooked politics; I know this because I was born and raised there. However, it's sad to see a bull-headed rich guy and a bunch of sell-outs in the state capital actively fighting against better education.

The situation in my home state also reflects what's happening in the nation's capital. These are no longer partisan issues; the one-percenters have managed to procure the services of both ruling parties to further their own agendas, and hardly anyone seems to even notice or care anymore.

Sources include:

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