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Those For & Against School Choice Gather At The State Capitol

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - In Austin Friday, Texas Democrats and Republicans stood with public, private and charter school kids and their families recognizing National School Choice Week at the State Capitol.

According to their website, School Choice events, taking place in Austin and across the state, are meant to "celebrate effective education options, while calling for even greater school choice."

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who was a public school teacher in Florida before attending law school at the University of Texas, was among the featured speakers.

"I believe that when we give parents a choice we're going to give students a chance, a chance at a better education, a chance at a better life, a chance at a better future," he said.

Thousands came out for the march at the state capitol that was followed by a rally.

Those in favor of different education options want a system that allows public dollars to follow students to private schools – in essence giving them a choice.

But State Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) fears the system would hurt children in less affluent school districts. "What we need to do is we need to focus on providing a quality public education… and that means financing a quality public education."

Bush disagreed, saying, "If parents are trapped at a school that has historically failed them, and isn't serving their children, then we need to give them options. It's the least we can do."

Responding to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's comment that the education change is his top priority, State Representative Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) said, "It's unfortunate because the best quality of education, for every child in this state, should be the top priority."

Democrats argue the proposal would take much-needed dollars away from public schools.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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