THOMAS/Texas tries for school choice again
SAN ANTONIO – Gov. Gregg Abbott has called a third special legislative session in an attempt to push through three priorities that previous sessions have defeated, surprisingly with some Republicans joining with most Democrats in opposition.
School choice is one of those priorities. The last session bowed to scare tactics by the powerful teachers unions and Democrats who promoted claims that allowing parents to send their children to private schools or use tax dollars to underwrite the costs of educating their children at home would force some public schools, especially in rural areas, to close.
That’s looking at the issue the wrong way. The real issue is what is being taught in many public schools which minimize fundamental subjects like reading, math, science and history in favor of a progressive worldview.
Examples abound. Rachel Hale is a self-described parent advocate for Texas Education 911, an affiliate of Parents United for Freedom (PUFF). Full disclosure: I spoke at a PUFF fundraising dinner, organized by my granddaughter.
Hale delivered remarks loaded with examples of the introduction of subjects – and worse – that has outraged growing numbers of parents in Texas and increasingly throughout the country.
She mentioned a bill that passed with the objective of removing “pervasively vulgar books out of school libraries.” Opponents have sued to keep the law from taking effect. See how this works? One side gets to introduce anything it wants under the cloak of “academic freedom,” while objecting parents are denounced as censors and inexperienced when it comes to education.
Hale offers another example of the condescending attitude some public educators and activists have for parents: “… in the summer of 2021 the Texas House Public Education Committee held two days’ worth of hearings on ‘parent empowerment,’ yet parents were not able to testify until the end of each day after Amazon, the Texas Education Agency, school superintendents and vendors – all of whom had unlimited time to speak and begged for more money … and were only allowed two minutes.
“Right after this most recent regular session ended, a ‘special commission’ was formed. … They spent two days hearing invited testimony only and guess who didn't make the list – parents!!!”
Still another example from Hale about where too many public schools are headed: “Child Protective Services were called on a parent in Lewisville ISD (when) her elementary age son responded a certain way after using the Rhitim App for three days in a row. Rhitim is an emoji-based survey that asks questions where the students respond with happy or sad faces. The survey was given right before lunch and asked the students if they were hungry. He of course answered with a sad face. After the third day of the same answer to the same question, it triggered CPS intervention.”
In the Tioga Independent School District, parents complained of an “inappropriate relationship” between a teacher and their daughter. The school, the parents said, did nothing and renewed the teacher’s contract for another year. Two days after graduating, their daughter left home and moved in with the teacher and his wife.
There’s much more and parents must continually educate themselves if they want to avoid further indoctrination and potential danger to their children. Electing new school board members will help and this pro-parent group is focusing on local school board elections next May in hopes of flipping four seats now held by liberals.
Perhaps, if they can manage to get some of these horror stories before the special legislative session it might convince fence straddlers to allow parents the same opportunities they and other well-off parents have when it comes to choosing where to send their children to school and what is being taught in them.
Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for his latest book “A Watchman in the Night: What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America" (HumanixBooks).