Providing our children with a quality education allows them to be competitive and to truly live out their dreams. I believe that when it comes to educating children, families know best. We must ensure that our hard-earned tax dollars go to the classroom, instead of bloated central administrations in our school districts. Texas must seek out and reward our most qualified and highest performing educators. Further, we must make it easier for parents to choose the best option they see fit for their own children, whether it be public schools, private schools, charter schools, or home school.
I was home schooled from 1979-198, prior to entering a private Christian high school as a young 13 year old. The rigors of the early home school education, with a very heavy emphasis on classic literature and self-directed learning, provided me with an indisputable educational advantage in the small classrooms of a college prep high school, and to this day, I credit my homeschooling with the achievement of graduating as Valedictorian of my high school at the age of 16. I am a natural defender of the rights of parents to home school, and an enthusiastic advocate for the superior education offered through homeschooling, by those who avail themselves of the challenge.
Based upon my own unique experiences, I am well-suited to analyze the various educational opportunities and challenges for Texan families. Personally, I am a product of public school, home school, and private school, and my own children have experienced a mix of home school, public school, magnet school (WAVE), and private school. I have the unique perspective of experiencing most educational options available over the past several decades and I am a big believer in making more options attainable for all families. Thus, I wholeheartedly believe in empowering families to attend the school of their choice, whether it be homeschooling, charter schools, or private schools.
The most proven solution to raise standards and improve outcomes is school vouchers. The principle of vouchers is compellingly simple: the state pays; parents choose; schools compete; standards rise; everybody gains. I also support measures such as virtual education and blended learning; improving student transfer policies within and among school districts so that students are not trapped in low-performing schools; allowing home school students and private school students to take virtual school courses without paying a fee; and creating an education tax credit (against the franchise tax) that provides families a scholarship for private school tuition, transportation expenses to an alternate public school, or home school curriculum.
Texas Public Policy Foundation agrees that more options will increase the quality of education in Texas:
Texas is entering a pivotal period for determining the future of education in this state. In all likelihood, the state will be facing another budget shortfall heading into the 2013 legislative session.
Increasing access to online learning in this state could prove to be a substantial cost saver, and will without doubt improve choice and flexibility in the design of a student’s education. Texas needs to look toward alternative paths to both improve its education quality while simultaneously making the system more fiscally efficient. Virtual education and blended learning are one such path the state must consider taking if it is to execute both of those aims.