Governor Greg Abbott discusses expanding education options at Nolan Catholic High School
FORT WORTH — “Our purpose is to ensure every child in the state of Texas gets the best education that can be provided by the state of Texas.”
Governor Greg Abbott emphasized that point during a visit to Fort Worth’s Nolan Catholic High School April 19 where he discussed his mission to bring parental empowerment and school choice to the state’s public education system.
The governor told a supportive audience of 1,000 students, parents, and educators that an irrefutable, timeless truth exists at the center of the issue: mom and dad are in charge.
“If mom and dad are in charge that automatically puts a child on a better pathway to education excellence, a better chance at life, and a better chance for success,” he said.
No parent wants to send their child to a failing school but finances often limit change.
“The state has to help those families who are stuck in schools that are not addressing the needs of their children,” the governor insisted. “The bill I’m working on will give parents the unprecedented opportunity to choose the school (for their child) that is best for them, regardless of the fact they may be disadvantaged.”
A proposed Education Savings Account (ESA) allows parents to opt out of their local school district and receive state money to educate offspring at a private school. It’s a program working in other states and a similar initiative for students with special needs already exists in Texas.
Under his plan, independent public school districts are fully funded and high school football budgets would remain unchanged, Abbott promised. Growing up in Longview and Duncanville, the former state attorney general attended public schools and continues to be a strong supporter of public education. State money for schools and teacher salaries reached an all-time high under his leadership and there are plans to add billions more to funding by the end of the legislative session in May.
Advocating for a Parental Bill of Rights, Abbott believes mothers and fathers deserve access to their child’s curriculum, school libraries and should know what is being taught. He also would like to see a return to teaching the basics like math, science, and American history as opposed to “woke” sociological issues.
“If we are going to succeed as a state and nation, a child must leave school knowing how the 13 colonies were able to form and turn into a country that became the most powerful and successful in the history of the world,” he asserted.
Welcoming the governor to Nolan Catholic, Bishop Michael Olson thanked him for promoting the idea of parental rights and recognizing that fathers and mothers are the primary educators of their children.
“Our challenge today is that too many falsely and unwittingly presume the primary unit of society is the individual and that the responsibility to educate children belongs to the state and not parents,” he commented.
The state has a vested interest in protecting and educating children, the bishop admitted, but that does not supersede the rights and responsibilities of mothers and fathers to form and educate children.
Quoting Pope Saint Paul VI, Bishop Olson said, “Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools.”
Nolan Catholic Principal Oscar Ortiz said recently amended legislation is an answer to prayer for many parents unable to exercise school choice because of finances or location.
“Nolan Catholic is not just a school but a ministry of the Diocese of Fort Worth committed to pursuing the truth of Christ,” he said. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to remind the world of the importance of the family, community, and freedom of parents to choose the best education for their children.”