Breckenridge Texan

Empowering parents in education can transform young lives

Empowering parents in education can transform young lives
February 05
11:47 2024

By Mike Olcott

After a years-long campaign by Governor Greg Abbott to bring attention to the critical issue of parental choice in education, the legislature was unable to pass a bill during the 2023 regular session and the ensuing special sessions due to a small handful of Republican lawmakers who sided with Democrats in opposition.

The set of policies that were discussed has been called everything under the sun from “vouchers” to “school choice,” but what it is at its core is the empowerment of parents to seek the best educational environment for their child.

Free market competition has inspired innovation and excellence in many areas. So why not in education? The purpose of education is to educate a child or adult in skills that will help them succeed in life. It is not about the institution or the method. There are many ways to educate. One size does not fit all.

No two children are alike. No two families are alike. So, if we really want an educated citizenry, we need to empower parents to be able to provide the best education environment for their children. Governor Abbott and others recognize that the taxpayers’ money should rightfully be maximized to ensure that engaged, caring parents can make the best choice for their unique children—even within the same household.

There is a disingenuous effort to malign those who support parental choice and freedom in education as being “against” public schools, but that could not be further from the truth.

I attended several public institutions of higher education on the way to earning my PhD in Biochemistry. As a teenager, I enjoyed competing in high school football and track. These are foundational experiences in my life and in the lives of countless other children.

I value our public schools and understand that they will always be the cornerstone of our education system in Texas. There are over 5.5 million schoolchildren today in Texas attending public schools. Private school enrollment in Texas by comparison is only 250,000.

A 2022 survey by the Texas Private Schools Association found only about 97,500 open seats in existing private schools today, which would accommodate less than 2% of current public school students. There is absolutely no scenario in which “public education can be privatized” as the alarmists claim. The math simply does not support this bogus narrative.

Even if a parental choice bill passes in the future, the truth is that the overwhelming majority — over 90%+ — of Texas school children will still always be educated in our public schools.

Our public schools are not under threat. Our Friday night lights and our town sports are not under threat. The only danger that exists is the resistance of Democrats and a small minority of Republican allies, who believe that they know better than parents about what is best for their own children.

The truth is that not every child is blessed with an excellent public school. We all know that there is an immense difference between the school districts in our communities here locally and those in nearby Dallas. Why limit those children’s options? Why stand in the way of a potentially brighter future for them?

Public education is not going anywhere and as your next state representative, I will work to ensure that we have great public schools that are focused on preparing the next generation of innovators and leaders while instilling a sense of community, national pride, and civic duty.

Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, and David Barton are right: We can have a robust, healthy public education system while also empowering parents to do what they deem best for their children. When it comes to this important issue, let’s trust the people; let’s trust parents. I know I do.


Mike Olcott is a Republican candidate for the Texas House of Representatives District 60 seat.


Click the following link to read the Breckenridge Texan’s overview story: State Representative candidates discuss their different stances on school vouchers

Click the following link to read Glenn Rogers’ views on the topic of school vouchers/school choice: Vouchers are not conservative


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