James Leininger spent nearly $5 million this year trying to elect voucher-friendly lawmakers to the Legislature, but now the retired San Antonio businessman and physician is farther from his goal than ever.
This wasn’t a case of money being distributed over a number of different organizations and candidates. It was more like, $50,000 here and $100,000 there, directly to candidates’ campaigns. No restrictions on campaign contributions in Texas.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who fended off a Leininger-backed candidate in last week’s election, said he’s never seen a well-crafted school voucher bill. Voucher supporters don’t want student achievement measured by the same standardized tests applied to public schools, Castro said.
“You can’t have different standards if everybody draws from the same source of money,” he said.
astro’s opponent, Nelson Balido, spent about $179,000 trying to defeat him, with $100,000 coming directly and indirectly from Leininger.
I think this is the crux of the matter. Many voucher supporters want parents to be able to remove their children from failing schools into private schools of their choice. In other words, because too many of a school’s students are failing a test, the students should be allowed to go to another school that doesn’t have to prove it is actually better than the school the students leave. They’re denying funding to public schools that don’t meet standards so that private schools can receive funding without proving they can meet standards. Until voucher proponents can remedy this inconsistency, vouchers will continue to face stiff opposition.