Education in East Texas Could Change with Vouchers

A school voucher system would allow parents to remove their children from East Texas public schools and enroll them in a private school of their choice. "I don't think a voucher program is a very good idea. First of all you are taking public money and giving it to a private school, says educator Dave Franssen. "I doubt it would be very effective. I know people like to have their choice but I think they need to put more money into public education, says Grey Burton.

Grey Burton is principal of Pineywoods Community Academy, a charter school which operates like a voucher sponsored school, but here all students are welcome. Some educators fear private schools using public money may not be as welcoming. "Who decides who gets into these private schools? Does the private school decide? Does the private school pay for state regulation? Who pays for transportation? Do they just select a bunch of kids to qualify? Isn't that a form of discrimination?", says Fransenn.

Some parents in East Texas are looking past the politics because they want what's best for their children. "Who wouldn't send their child to a government funded private school? The public school I attended is no longer there. It's no longer the same", says Barbara Barrett.

Though some parents believe public education has failed, educators say a voucher program is not the solution. They say to run an effective public school system they need community support. "For public schools to be successful it takes a triad, a strong community, a strong school, and parents who care about their children. With good support your schools are going to be successful", says Fransenn.

So far state legislators have been successful in defeating the voucher program.