Vouchers and Civil Rights

Private voucher schools do not provide the same rights and protections to students they would otherwise have in public schools, such as those in Title VI, Title IX, 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.

LGBT Students & Parents

Private schools that accept taxpayer-funded vouchers often deny admission to LGBT students and students with LGBT parents. In addition, many teach anti-LGBT curriculum. A 2013 study of a Georgia tuition tax credit program found that “at least 115 private schools [participating in the program] have explicit anti-gay policies or belong to associations that condemn homosexuality.” [1]  

The North Carolina voucher program also funds schools that have explicit anti-LGBT policies. For example, one school’s handbook states it will refuse to admit or expel students that are  “living in, condoning, or supporting any form of sexual immorality; practicing or promoting a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.”  [2]

Students of Color

Studies from across the country find that racial segregation is higher in private schools that accept vouchers than in the public schools. In addition, white students use taxpayer-funded vouchers more often than minority students. 

In Milwaukee in 2013-2014, more than 77% of African American students in the public schools attended “intensely segregated” schools, but for African American students in the voucher program, that number rose to more than 85%. A 2010 study of Georgia’s tuition tax credit program revealed that while only 10% of white students in public schools attended “virtually segregated” schools, within the program at private schools, this rose dramatically to 53%..  Furthermore, in Cleveland’s voucher program, minority students were much more likely than their peers to have never entered a voucher program or left their voucher program  and returned to public schools. 


Some state voucher programs allow private schools to discriminate against students based on their or their families’ religious beliefs.  For example, according to its written policy, a North Carolina private school accepting vouchers denies admission to “those in cults, i.e. Mormons, Jehovah Witness, Christian Science, Unification Church, Zen Buddhism, Unitarianism, and United Pentecostal.”  These schools also condition admission on adhering to certain religious tenets. For example, a 2016 study by the US Government Accountability Office’s 2016 reported that when applying to a voucher school at one school, all students in fourth grade and above must agree to follow a list of religious principles when applying to the school.

In addition, private school vouchers violate the religious freedom of taxpayers who are forced to foot the bill for religious education.

Read more on how vouchers violate religious freedom.