Invest in Public Education, Not Vouchers

/, K-12 Public Education, Texas Legislature/Invest in Public Education, Not Vouchers
Chandra Villanueva

Today the Senate Education Committee will hear several school voucher bills. Every voucher program is different and they go by many different names, but the basic idea is the same: the programs divert state funding from public education to cover all or part of a student’s tuition at a private or religious school. Promoted under the guise of offering choice to parents and students, vouchers undermine public education funding to serve few at the expense of many.

Public schools must accept and educate every student who walks through the door, but private and religious schools can pick and choose whom they accept. They are not required to provide special education services or meet the needs of English language learners, and they can reject students based on past academic performance. There is no guarantee that the most vulnerable and hard to educate students would benefit from vouchers.

There is also no guarantee that a voucher will cover the full cost of attendance for a private or religious school, leaving a tuition gap that parents must make up on their own. Low-income families may also experience other economic barriers to participation such as transportation, uniforms, and meals that are not covered by the tuition voucher.

For students who have struggled academically or whose families can’t afford the tuition gap and other attendance expenses, vouchers provide no choice at all.

Texas is responsible for educating five million students, 60 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged. To ensure that all Texas students are college and career ready we need to invest in public education, not vouchers.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

1 Comment

  • Vouchers and charter schools will not improve public education in Texas. Public schools are built with public money. The vetting process for charter schools and vouchers are not sound financial management….something Republicans like to boast about….fiscal responsibility. If 60% of children in Texas public schools are financially disadvantaged, how will vouchers and charter schools improve learning? Teachers need to be allowed to return to basic skills teaching not teaching kids how to take tests. If voucher programs are passed by the Legislature, get ready to go back to the future with Civil Rights Lawsuits from every corner of this state. Let’s stop electing knuckleheads that come up with these lame ideas for fixing public education.

    linda labeau 23.04.2015

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