School choice advocates have had a successful year for their movement and will be working to end on a high note as Texas begins a special session Monday dedicated to implementing a universal education savings account (ESA) policy.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called the legislative extra innings after Texas failed to pass an ESA measure earlier this year as more than a dozen states implemented or are preparing to implement new school choice policies.
ESAs have become the new North Star for school choice advocates. The accounts provide money to families to spend on alternatives to public school, such as private institutions or homeschooling. On Thursday, Abbott signed a proclamation for the session, calling for state lawmakers to give ESAs to every child in Texas.
Anita Scott, policy director for Texas Homeschool Coalition, said her group is feeling “positive about this special session” because “Governor Abbott has been on a parental empowerment campaign since January, February — visiting schools all across Texas to advocate for parents to have the right to decide where their children attend.”
Although it comes in a Republican-dominated state, Abbott’s goal will not be easy to accomplish. Earlier this year, the Texas Senate approved a bill that would give ESAs to all public school students, but the legislation dwindled in the House to 800,000 students before it died completely as lawmakers failed to act before a deadline.