Growing up, I had attended public schools for a majority of my schooling. There were only a few years in which I had attended a charter or private school. This being the case, I have seen the reality of how public schools go underfunded and how that correlates directly to the performance (or lack thereof) of students. This being the case, you can imagine my surprise when I heard about Texas Senate Bill 3 which would use our tax dollars to be given to parents in order for them to put their kids in private and religious schools. According to the draft of the bill, which you can read here, an "Education Savings Account" would be established that would help cover certain expenses for parents enrolling their children into a private or religious school of their choice.

Now, while on paper, it may seem like this bill is simply enabling families to have "free choice" in what school they choose, in practice, it is not as easy as it sounds. While this bill is shifting taxpayer money from public schools, it aims it towards these Education Savings Accounts - it is not as simple as choosing a private school and enrolling into it, there are many important drawbacks to this bill. First of which, you are not automatically enrolled into any private school; as a parent, you would still have to apply your child for consideration and go through that specific school's process of choosing students and even then, nothing is guaranteed as opposed to public schools.

Secondly, the specific amount of how much money is put into these savings account is not given, but with the restrictions as to what this money is meant to be used for, it is not guaranteed to cover the entire cost of attempting to enroll to a public school. It is based on the income of the family and the account can easily be taken away if they receive another form of income that the auditors of this bill believe would cover the costs instead. Think FAFSA but with a much worse understanding of how paying for school works.

Finally, but most importantly, this new bill would only prove to serve those students who belong to wealthy, well-off income families. If you are to look at a map of the distribution of private schools throughout a city, you find that a majority of the concentration of them are placed within more wealthy parts of the city, whereas in more poorer areas of a city, there are seldom private schools. Again, this bill shows its true colors by showing that they do not take into account all students, but it seems to only take those who are more fortunate in their wealth into consideration. If it comes down to sending your child to a public school which is right down the road or driving across town from your neighborhood to a private school, it is not too difficult to see that the parent would much rather prefer the former.

Instead of focusing on the majority of students and using state money to pay for the improvement of public schools, modernizing them and thus creating a much better environment and quality of education, the people who back this bill would rather take that away for some cheap alternative that would only help the wealthy.

When it comes down to it, this is not about Democrats or Republicans, conservatism or liberalism - in the end, it is about whether or not you genuinely care for the future of education for students. Education is a right, not a privilege or luxury. More than that, everyone deserves a quality education; so decide for yourselves, how would you want your tax dollars to be used? For benefitting all or only a few?