Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Public Education Statement (March 6, 1999)

The Coalition for Excellence and Equity in Public Education is a San Antonio-based coalition of community organizations and individuals who support the use of public money for neighborhood public schools and who oppose any effort to divert public tax funds to subsidize private education. The group is dedicated to improving neighborhood public schools by helping to channel the community’s support for public education.

Several organizations have been involved in the coalition. They include:

  • The Coalition for Public Schools
  • Intercultural Development Research Association
  • Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio
  • Edgewood Independent School District
  • Families United For Education: Getting Organized [Familias unidas para la educación: ganando organizadas]
  • Grupo de Los Cien, San Antonio
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • San Antonio Independent School District
  • Texas Federation of Teachers
  • Texas Freedom Network
  • Texas State Teachers Association

For more than two decades public school advocates struggled so that all students – including those in poorer school districts and including students who are minority or economically disadvantaged – can have high quality neighborhood schools that work for all children. San Antonio is the place where the battle for school equalization in Texas was born with the Rodriguez vs. San Antonio ISD case and the series of Edgewood school funding cases. This community was at the front of what turned out to be a hard and often bitter fight that has continued for 25 years – the fight to assure that children in this and other communities like it would not continue to suffer under a bad and unjust system of financing schools.

Now that we have finally begun to see the fruits of those efforts – just as funding has become more equitable and our public schools have begun to improve – we see a new attack on our neighborhood public schools, an attack being led by voucher proponents. Many of the people who are pushing for private school vouchers are individuals who historically denied our children their support for improved conditions in our local public schools and who opposed state level efforts to equalize school funding.

We know that vouchers will not improve our local neighborhood schools.

  • Vouchers jeopardize equity.
  • Vouchers jeopardize school accountability.
  • Vouchers jeopardize the continued existence of neighborhood schools.
  • Most private schools do not have the capacity or capability to absorb large numbers of students with special needs

Voucher proponents have suggested that we conduct pilot experiments to see how their idea might work in local schools. But they do not intend to experiment in their own neighborhood schools. Instead they want to try out their radical proposals on our neighborhood schools and our local children. Our communities must not serve as places where others conduct experiments that will harm children and will harm neighborhood schools. Our children and our communities deserve better.

The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Public Education knows that the only way to strengthen our public education system in San Antonio and in Texas is to strengthen and support our neighborhood public schools.

Justice, not charity. Education for all, not for the few. Our children and our public schools have come too far and have too much to do. We cannot quit now. We demand excellent neighborhood public schools, and we will fight for them. We will fight – as we always have – for all of our children.

IDRA is an independent, non-profit organization, directed by María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., dedicated to creating schools that work for all children. As a vanguard leadership development and research team for 25 years, IDRA has worked with people to create self-renewing schools that value and empower all children, families and communities. IDRA conducts research and development activities, creates, implements and administers innovative education programs and provides teacher, administrator, and parent training and technical assistance.