The head of the Senate Education Committee has broken into tears as he promised to fight for dramatically expanding "school choice" in Texas.
But Sen. Dan Patrick also announced Thursday he was softening his high-profile bill to allow an unlimited number of charter schools to operate statewide.
Instead, the Houston Republican told his committee he is modifying his proposal to seek a more-gradual, tiered approach to charter school expansion.
The committee has the power to refer the modified bill to the full Senate. It instead left it pending.
Meanwhile, Patrick's tears came as a group of students told the committee of dropping out of school but then returning thanks to charter schools specializing in at-risk youth.
His voice cracking, Patrick said, "I am going to fight for you."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.