Greg Abbott wants to overturn decision requiring free public education
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is often the tip of the spear of the great conservative project in America, which makes him a good indicator of which parts of the American system the GOP will attack next. Abbott is now targeting public education.
The Austin American Statesman reports that Abbott said Wednesday that Texas would “resurrect” a 1982 Supreme Court case requiring states to provide free public education to all children, including children of undocumented immigrants.
“Texas once sued the federal government a long time ago for having to bear the costs of the education program, in a case called Plyler vs. Doesaid Abbott on a conservative radio show. “And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue. … I think we’re going to resurrect this case and challenge this issue again, because the expense is extraordinary and the times are different from when Plyler v. Doe was published decades ago.
Public education has been increasingly demonized by the right, especially when it comes to issues of sex, gender and race. Conservative candidates running in contested primaries have been hammering questions of critical race theory and gender education in public schools to applause, while singing the values of private education. The state legislatures are pass bills this school discretion on how to educate children, arguing that parents should be the ones in control of the curriculum. The backlash has grown to the point that some on the right are wondering whether public schools should exist at all.
It sounds ridiculous, but it is clear that after the Supreme Court’s draft decision on Roe vs. Wade disclosed earlier this week, the Conservatives are charting what other cases they can uncover to advance their broader goals. Judge Alito’s draft decision on deer specifically referenced both Lawrence v. Texaswho legalized sodomy, and Oberfell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, saying that “none of these rights has any pretense of being deeply rooted in history”. Abbott, meanwhile, is licking his chops Plyler versus Doe. Conservatives control Supreme Court by 6-3 margin. GOP sees draft ruling on deer like a green light to make the most of their advantage.
Abbott framed reversal potential Plyler v. Doe as a means of reducing the costs of educating undocumented immigrants, giving the plan a practical twist that dovetails with a common conservative talking point. But stunning Plyer versus Doe can not only bring relief to overburdened school systems; it could create a doorway for their abolition, further crippling education in America and sending more children into a privatized system with few common standards. It would be a disastrous turn not only for the children of undocumented immigrants, but for children across America.
Abbott is one of the most extreme right-wing governors in the country, and although he may be the first to suggest the removal Plyler versus Doe, other Republican governors, state houses and national administrations are likely to follow his example. They have already done this with the state abortion ban.