Recoding School Choice as a Parental Right
Results from the February 2023 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll provides evidence of how the pandemic, the wide propagation of the trope of “woke education,” and the patterns in the state’s rapid population growth have converged to sharpen the terms of long-fought battles, while also shifting the terrain upon which these battles are being fought. The current surge in rhetoric and political action based on notions like “parental rights” and the prevalence of “woke education” have provided potential means for overcoming the resistance of a sizable faction of Republican legislators and the demonstrated ambivalence of voters toward state support for private education that “school choice” advocates have historically been unable to overcome in the legislature.
The public opinion context for Gov. Abbott’s emergency items for the 88th Legislature
While there is plenty of subtext to Gov. Greg Abbott’s state of the state address, the topline takeaways are the items designated as emergencies by the governor, qualifying them for consideration prior to the constitutional prohibition on passing bills during the first 60 days of the legislative session. We posted a lot of public opinion data as broad context going into the governor’s speech, but the unveiling of the much-anticipated emergency items enables a closer look at the public opinion context of the governor’s priorities in his efforts to shape the legislative agenda.
Second Reading Podcast: Public opinion and politics in Texas in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank discuss public opinion about guns in Texas, and the implication for politics in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Uvalde.
Second Reading Podcast: On the emerging politics of public education in Texas (and elsewhere)
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank talk about public education attitudes captured in the latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll in the context of recent school board elections and Gov. Greg Abbott's signals about private school vouchers.
Second Reading Podcast: The GOP reboot of public education
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank look at GOP efforts to refocus the public education debate in Texas.
Maybe This Russia Case Should Be an X-File: Texas Data Points From the Week in Politics
Day-to-day breaking news on the various aspects of investigations of Russian tampering in the 2016 election and (increasingly) how the Trump White House has responded to the investigation dominated the national political news this week, with the early week looking bad for the FBI but the end of the week looking decidedly worse for the president. The big story from the previous week, the negotiations over immigration policy and the government shutdown, hovered ever so lightly over Dan Patrick’s first border-security and illegal immigration focused campaign video, in which the Lt. Governor signaled very strongly that he’s still behind the president. Yet within hours of the release of the governor’s video, the president was signaling his willingness to trade a path to citizenship for DACA recipients for border wall funding – which provided Senator Cruz the chance to raise his head above the hedge to shout his dissent. In two developments that remain secure from the ever-expanding storm of national politics, the special school finance commission met for the first time this week, and the first batch of legally grown marijuana in Texas made news. Continue on for Texas data on yet another week in politics that veered very unevenly between mystery and quirky humor.
Subtweeting the 85th Texas Legislature
Most of the post-session coverage among the Texas political press has predictably focused on the politics of the big three and how much (or how little) of Greg Abbott’s agenda was acted on by the Legislature – coverage led by public signalling from both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor. But a look at some of the lower profile aspects across the arc of both the regular and special sessions of the 85th Legislature reveals a lot about the nature of the for-now dormant legislature and, more broadly, Texas politics as the political mix shifts more heavily toward electoral politics.
Texas data points of order for the week of April 7, 2017
Most of this week's focus in state politics was on the budget bill coming to the floor in the House, and the debate was filled with the usual theater, hijinks, and even a few surprises (we're looking at you, Texas Enterprise Fund). Meanwhile, the Trump administration got their man nominated to the Supreme Court and lobbed some cruise missiles at an isolated (and probably forewarned) airport, though many (especially the not-consulted U.S. Congress) wonder what the strategy in Syria is beyond some missile-based signaling.
Public Opinion on Vouchers as SB 3 Gets a Committee Hearing in the Senate
The February 2017 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll asked battery of questions about public education policy that included two items related to vouchers that provide context for the March 21 Senate Education Committee hearings on SB 3, the omnibus voucher/school schoice bill sponsoered by Senator Larry Taylor. The bill, which is the vehicle for Lt. Governor Patrick's efforts to introduce more private options into the k-12 education system, includes a form of educational savings accounts as well as scholarship set asides that parents can use for private school options. Below are some key results on the questions we asked, followed by brief comments Josh Blank and I wrote about the results shortly after the poll was released.