Public school supporters should recognize that vouchers can work for some families under the right conditions.
Betsy DeVos’s favorite education policy keeps looking worse. Last week, the Education Department, which she runs, released a careful study of the District of Columbia’s use of school vouchers, which she supports. The results were not good.
Students using vouchers to attend a private school did worse on math and reading than similar students in public school, the study found. It comes after other studies, in Ohio and elsewhere, have also shown weak results for vouchers.
The Arizona Legislature has passed one of the most expansive school-voucher programs in the nation.
In April, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law Senate Bill 1431, which allows all 1.1 million public-school students to apply for the Empowerment Scholarship Account program. The program gives public funds to students to use on private-school tuition, therapies and other educational services. Republican lawmakers narrowly approved the plan, which allows an estimated 30,000 students to take part in the program by 2022.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos likes to point to Florida’s education reforms from the Jeb Bush era as a potential model for expanding school choice. It’s a reasonable place to start given that adoption of these policies in the early 2000s coincided with outstanding educational improvements in the state. Statewide progress on the National Assessment for Educational Progress, a test administered over time by the federal government, has far outstripped that of the nation and nearly all states.
Florida has channeled billions of taxpayer dollars into scholarships for poor children to attend private schools over the past 15 years, using tax credits to build a laboratory for school choice that the Trump administration holds up as a model for the nation.
The voucher-like program, the largest of its kind in the country, helps pay tuition for nearly 100,000 students from low-income families.
PHOENIX (AP) – Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a major school voucher expansion bill that will extend eligibility to all 1.1 million state schoolchildren despite vehement opposition from Democrats who believe it will undercut public education and cost taxpayers untold millions of dollars.
“When parents have more choices, kids win,” Ducey tweeted after the House and Senate barely passed the legislation Thursday evening.