‘The issue tonight is freedom’: Governor Abbott in Amarillo for school choice policy

VIDEO: Governor Greg Abbott at Parent Empowerment Night in Amarillo
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:39 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:53 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Some lawmakers have tried for years to pass laws creating what are essentially vouchers to use public money for private educations.

This year, Governor Greg Abbott is making stops in Texas cities to sell the idea that parents should have the right to send kids to private schools with tax money.

Tonight at parent empowerment night, the governor as well as over 500 parents, students, and educators came out to talk about the importance of passing a school choice policy in the state of Texas.

Governor Abbott shares some strong selling points on why this option is needed for children in Texas.

“The issue tonight is freedom, the freedom of parents to choose what is best for their child. That is why we are gathering here tonight,” says Abbott.

Mom and past public educator, Roxanne Cheek says, she didn’t know she needed a choice until she was able to experience it with her job offer at San Jacinto Christian Academy.

“There are different choices out there, and if we don’t fund those choices and be part of a bigger picture, whether it’s home school, charter school, whether it’s public school or private school; I know we always hear talk about equity, but equity is not if you don’t go to public school, we’re gonna punish you and you don’t get funding,” says Roxanne Cheek, Superintendent of San Jacinto Christian Academy.

Texas ranks number one in the United States for the most blue ribbon schools of any state.

“This session, we will use billions of dollars more to provide even more funding for public education and teacher pay raises this legislative session,” says Abbott.

Aaron Kinsey, Texas State Board of Education, District 15, says the State Board of education is important; however, it is not the only option.

“It’s not the best solution for everybody and we have to acknowledge that; we have to understand that our children are unique,” says Kinsey.

Abbott says other states, like Florida, have seen success when implementing state-funded Education Savings Accounts.

“Schools are going to have to compete for those kids, and they’re a little bit afraid of that. But I’m very unapologetic in being okay that they ought to have to compete because when they have to compete, the quality of education is gonna go up. It’s what America got built on,” says Alex Fairly, CEO of Fairly Group.

Fairly says, today in Texas 99 percent of parents do not have a choice; you have to have means to have a choice.

“Teaching students to disrespect the flag of the United States of America, that’s disgraceful. That’s not what education is for and it’s disrespect for those who have served and by God as your Governor. I will not allow your taxpayer dollars to be spent to hate America,” says Abbott.

The next step in the process for the education savings account will be during this legislative session in Austin.