For weeks we have been calling for House Democrats to unite in opposition to the dangerous school “choice” proposals working their way through the chamber’s committee and towards the House floor. Yesterday, committee Democrats stood strong and firm in the Education Appropriations Subcommittee on a revised bill by Chairman Erik Fresen.
This proposal was voted down by every Democrat on the Subcommittee including several members who have voted for past voucher bills. The last few weeks we have seen a clear division between the parties on this issue in the House. House Democrats have united in opposition to this dangerous legislation, while House Republicans contrary to views of their partisan colleagues in the Senate have rubbed stamped this unprecedented expansion of the private school voucher program through each committee stop. Some of the most compelling arguments against this legislation have come from Democrats who have supported other voucher measures such as Rep. Shevrin Jones and Rep. Dwayne Taylor. Members like Jones and Taylor have been strong and smart in what the way they have presented the danger of the legislation promoted by Rep. Manny Diaz and Fresen.
This week has also seen some confusion about the group “Progressive Choice” and its advocacy for Public School Choice in the capitol. Public School Choice which is already on the books is not the same thing as school “choice” yet some clarity is needed here. . When we refer to school “choice” on this website we are speaking specifically of the efforts to hurt public schools by diverting tax money to private schools. Public School choice is something entirely different, and the Democrats confused on this issue need to remember the difference between funneling of tax dollars to private institutions with less accountability is different than funding public institutions that have to abide by high standards.
Back to the voucher proposal, it could make its way to the House floor as early as this week. In our continuing effort to oppose this risky use of tax dollars we will be running additional features in the coming days related to the voucher program and the proponents of voucher legislation.
Looking at the measure from a political perspective Reps. Diaz and Fresen both sit in the districts that were carried by President Obama in last year’s Presidential race. These are both prime pick up opportunities for Democrats in the coming fall election.