School Choice in Texas: Who Opposes It—And Why

By Jeffrey J. Cain, Jeremy Beer, and Ilan Wurman

The State of Texas has considered school choice as a tool for enhancing educational opportunity on a number of occasions over the past two decades. Those efforts have inevitably met with determined political opposition. In this report, we address two questions:

(1)    Who are the main actors funding opposition to school choice in Texas today?

(2)    In general, why do groups such as these oppose school choice?

Dr. Jeffrey Cain, principal of American Philanthropic, is a leading executive in the nonprofit, educational, philanthropic, and development community. Prior to founding American Philanthropic, he served the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), a national educational nonprofit committed to advancing a traditional liberal arts curriculum and the study of Western civilization, in various senior management positions, including vice president for institutional advancement, senior vice president for education and advancement, and executive vice president. Prior to serving ISI, Cain taught in the English department at Washington State University (where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature), founded a research nonprofit (the Columbia Public Interest Policy Institute), worked on various political campaigns in his native Washington State, and served honorably in the United States Marine Corps. He also has worked as an independent fundraising consultant and as a philanthropic advisor to leading nonprofits and foundations. He has taught a range of college-level humanities courses and published in leading academic and literary journals. Presently, Cain is president of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation in Santa Barbara, California and a trustee of the Lillian S. Wells Foundation in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Dr. Jeremy Beer, principal of American Philanthropic, has more than a decade of experience working as an executive, manager, and editor in the publishing and nonprofit fields. He is a former vice president at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, where he served as the executive in charge of the publications and information systems divisions and as editor-in-chief of the institute’s award-winning press, ISI Books. Beer has published dozens of essays and articles on literary, social, and cultural issues in various academic and popular journals, including Perspectives on Political Science, First Things, Touchstone, The American Conservative, and Utne Reader. He was project director or editor-in-chief for four editions of a critically acclaimed essay-style college guide, Choosing the Right College, and the coeditor of American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. He has lectured on topics related to culture, modernity, and religion at Georgetown University, Calvin College, national meetings of the American Political Science Association, and elsewhere. Beer holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, where he held a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Ilan Wurman has been a consultant with American Philanthropic since 2009. Currently a student at Stanford Law School, Wurman graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in government and physics. His writing has appeared in Commentary and The Weekly Standard. Ilan is an associate editor at the Stanford Law and Policy Review and serves as a member of the board of the Stanford Federalist Society.