Texas: Special Session of Legislature Opens Tomorrow, to Restart Voucher Debate

Governor Greg Abbott has called a special session of the Texas legislature, beginning tomorrow, which will consider a school finance reform bill and vouchers, among other things.

The public schools of Texas are underfunded. In 2011, the legislature cut the public school budget by more than $5 billion. Despite a growth in enrollment, that money has never been restored.

Sensible leaders recognize the inequity of the situation and propose an increase of $1.6 billion. But the state senate, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, will not pass the increase without passing vouchers. The state senate has repeatedly approved vouchers while the House has repeatedly rejected them. Both houses are controlled by Republicans.

One of the most consistent voices in opposition to vouchers has been the Pastors for Texas Children.

In this editorial, the Reverend Marv Knox , explains the principled opposition of Baptist ministers to vouchers. Baptists ardently support the separation of church and state.

“If voucher funds are handled responsibly, then their provision will introduce new levels of government involvement in private/parochial education. If the government provides funds—either directly or, more likely, as a pass-through from government to family to school—then it appropriately monitors and regulates those funds. On the other hand, if the government transfers voucher funds to schools without accountability, then it fails taxpayers and creates unprecedented opportunities for graft and corruption.”

Trump wants religious leaders to become more outspoken about politics. This is one example where religious leaders rightly put the common good above government support for religious schools, with full recognition of the dangers inherent in breaking down the wall of separation.

from sarah http://ift.tt/2us5OcI

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