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AUSTIN (AP) — Two conservative advocacy groups are teaming up to form a new nonprofit that will push for improving public education in Texas through parent empowerment and expanded charter schools.

Texans for Education Reform and the Texas Institute for Education Reform have become Texas Aspires.

An announcement obtained by The Associated Press says the new group’s 18-member board includes El Paso businessman Woody Hunt, former state Comptroller Susan Combs and Lionel Sosa, a veteran Republican strategist specializing in Hispanic outreach.

The merging groups have in the past lobbied successfully for state academic ratings that will give letter grades A-F to public schools starting next year.

Texas Aspires says it is focusing on strengthening public schools, but has remained silent on voucher programs that would funnel state funding to private and religious schools.

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