The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)—the largest independent, nonunion educator association in the United States—vehemently opposes the school privatization provisions included in new coronavirus relief legislation proposed Sept. 8 by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The proposed bill would provide $5 billion annually over the next two years in federal tax credits for contributions to state programs that award scholarships to attend private schools. This is one of several pet voucher projects pushed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos since her Senate confirmation in 2017 and something that ATPE has long considered unacceptable.
“This bill by the Senate Majority Leader is another unconscionable attempt to syphon off precious taxpayer money for private school vouchers at a time when our public schools are underfunded and struggling with reopening safely in a pandemic,” said ATPE State President Jimmy Lee. “These voucher provisions have nothing to do with COVID-19 and should not be part of the next relief bill passed by Congress.”
ATPE notes this bill is also very similar to S.634, a bill introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would fund a tax credit voucher program at $50 billion over 10 years. ATPE opposed that bill as well.
“Congress should be focusing on helping our nation’s public schools that are dealing with unprecedented challenges,” added Lee. “We cannot afford to divert our previous and limited resources from public schools to private entities, especially not during a global crisis. With many of our schools re-opening this week, we urge the Texas delegation to prioritize funding for public schools that are desperately in need of additional resources right now to keep their students and staff safe.”
About the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)
Founded in 1980, ATPE is the leading educators’ association in Texas with approximately 100,000 members statewide. With its strong collaborative philosophy, ATPE speaks for classroom teachers, administrators, and future, retired, and para-educators and works to create better opportunities for Texas’ five million public school students. | atpe.org