Texas state lawmakers to consider Education Savings Accounts

State lawmakers will soon discuss new legislation that would allow children to leave Texas public schools and take some state dollars with them so parents can choose the best education mix for their child.

The program is called Education Savings Accounts. It’s already in place in other states and could soon come to Texas.

“What an ESA does is takes the power away from the government and puts the power in the hands of the parents,” explained Randan Steinhauser with Texans for Education Opportunity.

A parent who ops to have an ESA would take their child out of public school. The money from the state that would go to a district for that child would go to a savings account for that parent to customize education

“So the parent can take those state dollars and use them on a variety of expenses,” said Steinhauser. “Everything from private school to tutoring to speech therapy.”

“Right now we have about 2,000 kids that are home-schooled and about 9,000 kids that go to private schools. And some of those may be eligible to get our public dollars to do that,” explained Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa. “We understand public school choice and we support that. But this is going way beyond that, and it’s gonna further diminish the few resources that we have to make our students successful.”

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says the half million students being home-schooled or in private school aren't taking money from public schools and says the current model is not working.

“It’s just the big lie told by the teacher unions and the educators,” Patrick said. “If you look at public schools in Dallas, you will find a lot of schools that have been drop out factories for a long, long time. So why should a parent be locked into a failing classroom or a failing school just because that’s the way it is? It’s not right.”

The legislature will take up ESAs as another choice in January.