Facts About Vouchers
Private school vouchers undermine public schools. Open and nondiscriminatory in their acceptance of all students, American public schools are a unifying factor among the diverse range of ethnic and religious communities in our society. Vouchers undermine this vital function, however, by diverting desperately needed public resources away from the public school system to fund the education of a few students at private schools—without offering any actual reforms. The government would better serve our children by using these funds to make the public schools stronger.
Private school vouchers do not save taxpayer money. In voucher programs, the public schools from which students leave for private voucher schools are spread throughout a school district. The reduction in students from each public school, therefore, is usually negligible and does not decrease operating costs of those public schools. That is one of the reasons why some voucher programs have resulted in multi-million dollar deficits and tax increases.
Private school vouchers do not improve academic achievement. Repeated studies of voucher programs across the country show that vouchers result in worse test scores for students.
Private school vouchers do not lead to improvements in public schools. There are many, proven ways to improve public schools such as reducing class sizes, offering a well-rounded curriculum and increasing parental engagement. Resourcing our neighborhood public schools so that students have inviting classrooms, well trained teachers, and support services such as health care, nutrition and after-school programs will ensure our children can compete in the global economy.
Private school vouchers do not offer real choice. Vouchers give a choice to private schools, rather than to parents and students. Voucher programs are governed by different laws in different states, but most allow private schools to accept taxpayer dollars but reject students with vouchers for a variety of reasons, ranging from disability to ability to pay.
Private school vouchers violate the fundamental principle of religious freedom because they pay for religious education with taxpayer funds. They also threaten the autonomy of religious schools by opening them up to government audits, control, and interference.
Private school vouchers don’t work in rural areas. Vouchers don’t provide an actual choice for students living in rural areas who have few, if any, access points to schools other than their local public schools. If students are able to use a voucher, they are generally required to endure long, costly commutes. And, vouchers are especially harmful to the public school systems serving large rural areas because the schools are forced to spread the same costs for facilities, transportation, administration, and instruction over a smaller revenue stream.
Private voucher schools do not provide the same rights and protections to students as public schools, such as those in Titles VI and IV of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Every Student Succeeds Act. And, students who attend private schools using vouchers are stripped of the First Amendment, due process, and other constitutional and statutory rights guaranteed to them in public schools.
Private voucher schools do not adequately serve students with disabilities, often denying them admission and subjecting them to inappropriate or excessive suspensions or expulsions. Nor do they provide them the same quality and quantity of services available to students in public schools, including those mandated under each student’s individualized education plan (IEP).
Private school vouchers do not adequately serve low-income students because the cost of tuition and fees at schools that accept vouchers generally exceeds the amount of the voucher, making voucher schools unaffordable for most low-income families.
Private school vouchers fail to provide accountability to taxpayers. Most voucher programs lack accountability measures, and many also lack proper oversight to ensure they meet even the minimal standards that do exist.
Private school vouchers often fund poor quality schools. Because voucher programs lack accountability and oversight, vouchers often fund poor quality schools, including those that employ teachers with no credentials, are operated from dilapidated buildings and lack proper facilities, and teach questionable curriculum.