AUSTIN -- State Sen. Dan Patrick was giving a sermon. Or at least it felt like one."What we need is urgency now! No excuses!," Patrick, R-Houston, cried, shaking the table in front of him. "I am all in, but I can't do it by myself."The leader of the Legislature's Tea Party caucus was speaking at a Texas Business Leadership Council forum, just one stop on his crusade to reshape Texas classrooms in the name of "school choice."Patrick is pushing for expansion of charter schools and touting an ambitious voucher plan that would allow students to attend private schools with public money.Critics say Patrick, chairman of the powerful Senate Education Committee, is out to funnel public money to private corporations, and even Republican House Speaker Joe Straus says much of Patrick's agenda won't make it through the Legislature.Patrick isn't shy about blurring the line between preaching and policymaking."Someone came up and said, 'This is like a tent-revival meeting,'" Patrick said in an interview as he left the forum. "But you do become a little bit of an education evangelist because you know this works and you know we must do all we can to make sure every student has an opportunity."The zealous approach comes easily to Patrick, who is also an AM radio talk show host on Houston's KSEV/700 AM.Others call it grandstanding."He's gotten very preachy," said Rita Haecker, president of the Texas State Teachers Association. "His words are cheap, but quality schools are very expensive, and he wants to take money away from them."Patrick wants to overhaul high school graduation requirements to accommodate students wanting career and technical training, rather than college-readiness. He has also introduced a bill erasing Texas' current cap of 215 licenses for charter schools and wants to provide them with public funding for facilities. Public schools would also be required to lease unused buildings to charters."There will be some things the other side doesn't support, but if we can get 85, 90 percent of our agenda, that's something," Patrick said.Patrick recently told people lining up to testify against his legislation that they'd be testifying against 100,000 students and families who weep because they are wait-listed while trying to get into charter schools and away from campuses that struggle with academics. Then, at a Senate Finance Committee meeting Thursday, Patrick and Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, got testy over how to fund a new board that Patrick wants to create to handle a potential flood of new charter school applications."We're talking about poor students in failing schools who are desperate for options," Patrick said.West snapped: "Let's not demagogue this."In 2009 and 2011, the state Senate passed bills to expand charter schools, but both initiatives fizzled in the House, where they were opposed by Democrats and rural Republicans who represent districts where no one has tried to start charter schools.An even hotter-button issue, however, is Patrick's attempt to offer public financing to parents who can use it to pay for private schools.Patrick has yet to file a bill, but he and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who controls the flow of legislation in the Texas Senate, said the idea would be to give businesses credits worth up to a quarter of what they pay in state taxes to donate to nonprofit groups offering private-school scholarships to disadvantaged youngsters.Patrick dismisses "vouchers" as a term from the 1970s and describes what he's championing as "business tax credits.""You can't slap a new name on bad policy," said Phillip Martin, political director of the liberal advocacy group Progress Texas.Patrick is steeled for criticism. He told the forum audience: "Governor Bush warned me, 'You've got to have someone willing to take arrows.' Well, I'm taking them."Patrick was referring to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who addressed the same Business Leadership Council forum and whom Patrick then invited in front of his committee to explain how Florida embraced vouchers, charter schools and online learning.Bush has branded public schools "monopolies" controlled by unions more interested in protecting teachers and other adults than students.Speaker Straus, R-San Antonio, said he didn't expect any bill to pass the House that uses public money to fund private schools.Patrick insists this time will be different."This is contagious," he said. "Whenever you can see any person in life lifted up because of educational opportunities, it's exciting. And I'm not the only one who thinks so."