Are Vouchers The Silver Bullet For Education Woes?

Not according to the Brookings Institution, the oldest and one of the most-respected “think tanks” in the U.S.

Here’s what they say after looking at the results of an exhaustive study of vouchers in Louisiana and Indiana.

“Recent research on statewide voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana has found that public school students that received vouchers to attend private schools subsequently scored lower on reading and math tests compared to similar students that remained in public schools. The magnitudes of the negative impacts were large.

“In education as in medicine, ‘first, do no harm’ is a powerful guiding principle. A case to use taxpayer funds to send children of low-income parents to private schools is based on an expectation that the outcome will be positive. These recent findings point in the other direction. More needs to be known about long-term outcomes from these recently implemented voucher programs to make the case that they are a good investment of public funds. As well, we need to know if private schools would up their game in a scenario in which their performance with voucher students is reported publicly and subject to both regulatory and market accountability.”

While some will say that Alabama does not have a voucher program, the reality is that we do with the Alabama Accountability Act.  Vouchers use public monies to provide scholarships to private schools.  In Alabama, we allow tax credits for money that would have become public to be used for scholarships.

In a true voucher situation, your company sends $10,000 to the state to pay your taxes and the state sends $10,000 to pay for vouchers.  So the state has $10,000 less to spend on public schools  With the accountability act, your company sends $10,000 to a scholarship granting organization for scholarships, the state says they will forgive your $10,000 tax bill and the result is the same.  The state has $10,000 less to spend on public schools.

In other words, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…………….”

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