Facebook Live

Click on the above Facebook Live link to see Executive Director Laura Colangelo visit with Randan Steinhauser with Texans for Educational Opportunity about Tax Credit Scholarships, the school choice priority for the Texas Private Schools Association. 



April Featured Schools

Congratulations to Calvary Episcopal School in Richmond, The Christian School at Castle Hills in San Antonio, Harvest Christian Academy in Ft. Worth, Memorial Christian Academy in Killeen, and The Kessler School in Dallas.  These schools are our featured schools of the month! 




EPI PEN BILL ADVANCES


The bill that allows private schools to stock unprescribed epi-pens and use them in an emergency has passed the Senate commitee as SB 579 (thank you Senator Van Taylor) and was heard in the House committee on April 4th as HB 1593 (thank you Rep. Cortez).  TPSA is fighting for this bill to allow private schools to have all available tools to help our students with allergies! 

If this bill passes and it made law, then member schools will get more information about how to implement this new law and have access to free epi-pens to store at school.

To track this and other bills that TPSA is filing or following, go to the Outreach page of the TPSA website for updates.


Title II Funding in Doubt

President Trump's budget proposal is being called the "skinny budget" in DC.  This budget called for an elimination of Title II funding for the 2018-2019 school year.  If your school depends on Title II funds for some professional development, you might want to keep an eye on this decision. 

Many think that this line item will be restored because of how popular this funding stream is with all kinds of schools, but it is worth considering when planning future budgets.  A great article by Lesli A. Maxwell in Education Week explains this decision and its possible effects in private and charter schools.





On Wednesday March 22nd, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District that public schools must do more than "de minimis" in meeting its obligations to educate a child under IDEA.  It must instead be "appropriately ambitious" in its educational outcomes and the case was sent back to a lower court for a definition of this phrase.

The family of Endrew F. had rejected the IEP of the school district for their autistic child and sent him to a private school that was able to meet his needs.  He made progress at the private school, so they sued the school district for reimbursement for the tuition that they paid since the public school was not able to offer him a free and appropriate public education. 

The ramifications of this decision are yet to be seen, but it is certain to influence the discussion of school choice for children with special needs.

 
SB 3 Passes Senate - House Still a Challenge


On Thursday, March 30th, SB 3 passed the Senate on a vote of 18 to 13.  SB 3 is a combination bill of a tax credit scholarship and an ESA to allow students.  The bill was narrowed before the vote to exclude rural counties (with an opt-in provision) and limit ESAs to children having been in public school the entire year before.  The Republican lawmakers who voted against SB 3 were Kel Seliger of Amarillo, Joan Huffman of Houston, and and Robert Nichols of Jacksonville

A fascinating article about how to think about school choice reforms called "Asking the Wrong Questions About School Choice" by Robert Pondisco answers many of the questions of accountability and educational freedom.

Any school choice bill faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives.  U.S. Senator Ted Cruz sent a letter to all Republican lawmakers in early March to urge the to vote for a school choice program in Texas.  House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty declared school choice "dead on arrival" in the House, but recently stated that it would be given the courtesy of a hearing.

Representative John Frullo, R-Lubbock, talked to private school leaders at a Texas Private Schools Association district meeting on March 24th at Lubbock Christian University about the possible pitfalls of a school choice program as he sees it.    


Betsy DeVos Meets with Private School Leaders in DC



On March 20th, Secretary DeVos (shown here with The Rev. Dan Heischman, President of the CAPE board) met with private school leaders from across the country to hear about issues that affect private school students in the US.  She also elicited responses on how a federal school choice program might work. 

 

 
Private School Leader Speaks the Truth About School Choice 


Dr. Larry Taylor, Head of Prestonwood Christian Academy and President of the Board of TPSA engaged in the school choice discussion by disputing the opinions of a prominent anti- school choice spokesperson purporting to represent all Baptist schools and pastors in Texas.  Read the discussion here

William Summerhill, Head of Ascension Academy, and a former board member of TPSA also spoke out in the Amarillo Globe-News about the benefits of school choice in Texas.  TPSA is spreading the word far and wide that school choice can work in our great state with a thoughtful and deliberate implementation of a school choice program.