North Texas Democrats held press conference on the start of anti-public education vouchers. – Courtesy photo

Special to The Dallas Examiner

Drawing attention to the harmful effects vouchers would have on North Texas Schools if passed during the special session of the 88th Legislature, North Texas state representatives in collaboration with local education and community leaders held a crucial press conference at L. G. Pinkston High School.

Representatives included Rafael Anchía, Nicole Collier, Toni Rose, John Bryant, Rhetta Bowers, Carl Sherman, Venton Jones, Salman Bhojani and Mihaela Plesa.

“I am proud to stand with the bipartisan majority of my colleagues in the Texas House standing together against vouchers. Vouchers are a scam that will only drain dollars and resources from our already underfunded neighborhood schools – they must never be allowed to pass in Texas,” emphasized State Rep. Rhetta Bowers, who represents House District 113,

Recently, Gov. Abbott called the third called special session to focus on the passage of private school vouchers. The press conference was one of several regional press conferences hosted by the Texas House Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Education on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 across the state of Texas as a display of unity between the legislators and local leaders of North Texas standing in opposition to the private school vouchers.

“School vouchers do more academic harm than good to Texas’ public-school students,” said State Representative Toni Rose of House District 110. “Vouchers defund the public education needs of economically disadvantaged students by risking closure of neighborhood schools, expanding class size, eliminating teachers, and severely reducing students’ opportunities for extracurricular activities.”

The group expressed their unwavering opposition to any school voucher program that would divert resources away from public schools, weakening the foundation of the educational system of Texas. They highlighted concern for the danger of the governor’s proposal to divert taxpayer dollars from public schools to unaccountable private school vouchers, a proposal that has repeatedly been rejected by a bipartisan majority of state legislators for three decades.

“In the face of the daunting challenges that our public schools face, we should be investing in them instead of siphoning away much-needed resources,” said Jones, who serves House District 100 and sits on the House Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Education. “We have a moral obligation to provide every child with an equal opportunity to succeed. School vouchers threaten this principle, perpetuating inequality and limiting their potential.”

State Rep. Rafael Anchía of House District 103 called public school “the heart of the community.” He said they are how families can be lifted from where they are to where they want to be. It’s an infrastructure of opportunity worth fighting for.

State Rep. Chris Turner of House District 101 said he has always opposed the vouchers because they drain funding from public schools. He urged everyone to vote against them and invest in the 5.4 million children attending public schools across Texas.

State Representative Julie Johnson of House District 115 insisted the Legislature support the 96% of young Texans who attend public schools. She said that the House and Texas voters have rejected the vouchers over and over and declared they would be rejected again.

“Vouchers are a scam aimed at diverting public tax dollars away from our already underfunded neighborhood public schools to provide a tax cut to the wealthy few who can afford to send their children to non-accountable private schools,” said State Rep. Jessica González of House District 104. “The 96% of our students who attend public schools, their teachers, and school support staff are desperate for additional funding to keep up with inflation and bring Texas in line with the national average for per-student funding.”

The North Texas Democratic delegation called upon their fellow legislators to prioritize public school funding and work collectively to develop effective solutions that enhance the quality and accessibility of public schools across the State of Texas.

“It is a direct attack on our public schools to allocate what would amount to billions of taxpayer money to unaccountable private schools while we continue to underfund and hold our local schools to higher performance standards and increased oversight,” stated State Representative Ana-Maria Ramos of House District 102. “Public education is our best option to provide quality education to all 5.4 million students that we are currently serving; claims that we can fully fund our schools while also implementing this voucher scam just do not add up. I will never support any piece of legislation that includes vouchers.”

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