If Texans want school choice, they’ll have to keep Gary VanDeaver from standing in the way

May 21, 2024

By Tim Worstall

If elected politicians won’t pass the policies the people want, the people must elect new politicians.

With this in mind, we consider this year’s elections for the Texas House. Perhaps more specifically, the primaries.

Take Texas State Rep. Gary VanDeaver, for example. As we reported before, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott thinks he’s two votes in that House away from being able to enact proper school choice, which has widespread support in the state. VanDeaver, representative for the 1st district, is against it and stands in the way of its passage.

VanDeaver claims to be a conservative, but is actually a taxpayer-funded lobbyist on behalf of the teachers unions. As such, it’s no surprise that he opposes school choice for Texas families. But our investigations have repeatedly shown just how critical school choice is in Texas.

VanDeaver’s career was as an educator in that public school system – we could expect a certain bias in favor of his life choice, obviously. But a little further: “Gary eventually completed a Doctorate of Educational Administration.” Ah, so, actually, an education bureaucrat. Which does aid in explaining his opposition to school choice, since the threat of school choice is to that very education bureaucracy. If schools are free, the bureaucrats lose power.

This might explain his views, as we say: “Despite intense political pressure, Republican Rep. Gary VanDeaver said he won’t support a bill that includes school vouchers.“ and:

“Rural Republicans, I think, really are kind of the pivot point in this whole discussion,” said state Rep. Gary VanDeaver, a Republican who represents the northeastern corner of the state. “I believe that anything that pulls anything from public school system rather than improving it is not good policy.”

Just not gonna do it, is he? As we say above, depends which rural Republicans win the primaries.

 But is this really just about his own past membership of that educational bureaucracy that would get gutted by school choice? Could be, could be. Hey, he could even believe it all.

A Texas lawmaker’s personal financial statement reveals paid consultancy work for a public school lobbyist, raising ethical concerns.

While in office and serving on education committees, Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston) was a paid consultant for a lobbyist group representing public schools. He later voted against school choice legislation that would have allowed families to use taxpayer money to defray the costs of private school or homeschooling.

Ah. Well, belief can be caused by many things, right? Might also be why VanDeaver’s endorsed by the NEA, the most liberal of the teachers’ unions. 

This is more partisan, coming as it does from his primary runoff opponent but additional information. It’s also true that Abbott doesn’t like VanDeaver:

Gov. Greg Abbott accused Rep. Gary VanDeaver of being a “fraud” on Saturday, pointing to a campaign ad in which the embattled incumbent claimed Texas adopting school choice would result in taxpayer dollars going to unlawful migrants.

There’s more to it than just the surface issue of school choice and educational vouchers of course. For one of the aims is to break that power of the progressive educational bureaucracy over the schools. That’s why they’re fighting back. Breaking that power is the only way that we can get Critical Race Theory, Social Emotional Learning, DEI and all the rest out of the classroom. When schools can, independently, teach what parents want them to teach then that central bureaucracy won’t be able to impose these progressive nonsenses.

School choice is about more than just which school a child can go to – it’s about the freedom, the power, for parents to determine what their child is taught. And, clearly, isn’t taught.

VanDeaver has spent his career in that bureaucracy that wants to retain that power, he’s had paid consultancy with those who oppose those freedoms, but, you know, maybe he actually believes it all. But the voters have the final say.

Join us in our push for universal school choice in the state of Texas. Click here to see AIM’s investigative work that shows it is clearer than ever that the only solution is school choice in Texas. With one click, you can tell your elected officials to promote school choice in your state.


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