Abbott touts Florida’s education success as reason for Texas to pass school choice

Providence Christian School in Dallas is one of 2,034 private schools in Texas serving more than 331,500 students. With an average student-to-teacher ratio of 9:1, the school believes that early development of a disciplined lifestyle in the context of a relationship with Jesus Christ will provide a solid foundation for a responsible and joyful life.

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Texas should strive to have the best educational system in the country, Gov. Greg Abbott says, and that’s why he’s supporting school choice initiatives in the Legislature.

“What’s our goal for public education in Texas?” he asked a crowd of business executives at a Houston Region Business Coalition lunch this week.

It should be to be the best in the country, he said.

“No one’s ever said that before now. There seems to be ambiguity about what we want to achieve in education.”

There shouldn’t be ambiguity, Abbott argued, saying the future of Texas and America is “to educate our kids. We should have as a state a goal of nothing less than having the best public education system in the United States of America.

“We do not attain that goal without first stating that is going to be your goal,” he continued. “But then when you establish your goal you then look to what it is that we need to do to make sure that we are going to be able to achieve that goal.”

Abbott said he is advocating for school choice this legislative session because school choice initiatives in Florida worked and helped it become one of the top education states in the country.

“Twenty years ago, in 2002, Florida embarked upon school choice in its state and at that time students who were coming from low-income families were testing on national tests as one of the worst in the country,” he said. “Now 20 years later, they test among the top, among the best in the country.”

“What school choice does … is ensure competition in the education place and public schools in Florida are doing better,” Abbott continued. “Private schools in Florida are doing better. Homeschooling in Florida is doing better. Across the board, education is better.”

Florida outranks Texas in nearly every education category. Florida ranks first, Texas ranks 21st, for parental involvement in education, according to the most recent Center for Education Reform Parent Power Index.

A recent Heritage Foundation Education Freedom Report Card ranks Florida first and Texas 12th. The Nation’s Report Card ranked Florida 5th and Texas 14th for their respective fourth- and eighth-grade students’ math and reading scores in 2022.

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BY Special to NextSteps