The Truth About School Vouchers

By Janine Morgan

Policy vs. Evidence

To begin with, there are rarely accountability standards for private schools, which opens the door to abuse, segregation, and a whole host of other concerns.

In addition, studies indicate that there has been a decrease in test scores, by even three years into the program, the negative impacts of using a private school voucher persisted.

Furthermore, school vouchers funnel money away from already-struggling public schools and children and redistribute tax dollars to private schools and middle-class children.

Additionally, upper class families that could otherwise afford private schools, would be using up the much needed resources intended for public education.

Moreover, the use of vouchers show a sharp decline in participation, which follows students into adulthood, resulting in failures in jobs and furthering education, as well as causing a further decrease in candidates for much needed trade jobs.

Also, school vouchers don't always cover the full costs involved in a transfer. There are parents who don't use them because they couldn't afford the additional costs. 
This can cause courses of study to come to an abrupt end prior to completion.

School choice was to give parents a way to improve education for their children, as well as push the public system into improving education for students. 

Unfortunately, in the states that have implemented these programs, the voucher is the least effective in doing either one. For example, Texas does not have vouchers, but they have numerous other choice options that have proven to be quite successful.

As far as California, there are many disadvantages for students wanting to be included in a voucher program. 

First, Blaine Law commands that no taxpayer money goes to religious organizations, including schools. This disenfranchises students in rural areas that tend to have ONLY Christian schools as an alternative to public education. 

Next, depending on how the legislation is written, vouchers can be exploited in a number of ways. 

In California for instance, the law states that no child shall be denied a public education. Because of this, in essence, a voucher could be issued to a student, used to enroll in a private school, and then the parent can change their mind and send their child to public schools after all. Upon re enrollment, the school district can legally request additional money from the funding agency or agencies. 

Lastly, according to data collected surrounding school vouchers, public education has had little, if any improvement in test scores.  

In conclusion, school vouchers are not the cure-all for what is lacking in public education. Let's continue focusing on other school choice options, as well as improving the existing education system and not get distracted with inadequate alternatives.