Dennis Bonnen, Former Faculty Voucher Opponent, Sells Out to Goldwater Institute- Reform Austin

Dennis Bonnen, former Speaker of the Texas Space and fierce opponent of the far-right push for college vouchers, has joined the Goldwater Institute, assets say. The Goldwater Institute has been a constant power for college vouchers for years.

“Faculty selection” is still a rallying cry for Texas conservatives who declare that public faculties are instructing beside the point courses and wish to use taxpayer price range to ship their youngsters to personal, generally spiritual, faculties. That is regardless of the truth that Texas folks have already got the solution to ship their kid to another college if it doesn’t meet their kid’s wishes. The struggle is wrapped up within the present backlash to instructing scholars in regards to the position of white supremacy in historical past, the significance of the exertions motion, and acknowledging LGBT other people in social research and literature. Governor Greg Abbott not too long ago launched into a statewide excursion to advertise his model of a voucher program, an Training Financial savings Account.

In 2019, Bonnen was once a constant opponent of identical pushes. Bonnen had expressed some pro-voucher sentiments in 2013, however by the point he become Space Speaker had turn into a standard no vote. On the time, Bonnen had the price range to face towards the swell of cash from the likes of oil moguls Farris Wilks and Tim Dunn, who’ve poured marketing campaign contributions into the struggle for vouchers.

Bonnen was once in the end introduced down after a struggle with the Empower Texans political team, a far-right activist group that goals applicants now not deemed conservative sufficient. Bonnen tried to make use of them to head after some warring parties. He resigned in 2021.

Now, he’s running for the Goldwater Institute. Named for the famously racist former presidential candidate Barry Goldwater who fought arduous for racially segregated faculties (a commonplace end result of voucher methods), the Goldwater Institute has been very lively in states advocating for vouchers.

In 2015, they gained a case to give protection to a voucher program in Louisiana. In 2022, they participated in  a petition to release a voucher program in Arizona. It fell wanting the desired signatures. Arizona, like Texas, already has a voucher program for particular scholar populations, however the Goldwater Institute needs to open it up for all. Fighters, each in Arizona and Texas, argue that doing so would drain billions of greenbacks from the general public college machine when the scholars switch to personal establishments, tearing aside communities, in particular rural and ethnic-minority ones.

Bonnen taking a place with Goldwater is a foul signal for the struggle in Texas. In spite of his fall from energy, Bonnen nonetheless has a wealth of connections from his lengthy occupation in Texas politics. Seeing the previously stalwart anti-voucherist trade his track on Goldwater’s dime may just sway the remainder Republicans who’re underneath force from the management to make the voucher machine occur this consultation.

The disgraced Speaker appears to be like to have dropped his earlier positions through the wayside due to the massive cash within the voucher struggle. 

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