|Texas cannot afford to finance private education as well as public
There would be only two ways to pay for vouchers—take money from already
under funded public schools or raise taxes. Both are unacceptable.
|Tax dollars for private education won’t fix student achievement problems at public schools.
The best way to assist all low-performing students is by strengthening their
public schools and addressing individual learning problems directly. Vouchers could take away tax dollars from the public schools where children have the greatest needs.
|A voucher would be a ticket to nowhere for most children.
Private schools can choose to accept or reject any student, and many have
long waiting lists and only admit top students. On average, religious schools
reject 67% of all applicants. Elite private schools reject nearly 90% of
applicants. “Choice” does not reside with parents but with private school
|Parents have an expanding array of choices for the public school their child attends.
Among the many public school options, parents may transfer their child to
another public school in the same or a neighboring school district, or enroll
their child in a public magnet school, public charter school, school to work
program, or an evening high school.
|Vouchers don’t create a “competitive marketplace.”
Competition is based on an even playing field; there is no fair competition
when “competitors” play by different rules. Public schools have to accept all
applicants, private schools don’t. Private schools are not required to
provide transportation, special education, bilingual education, free and
reduced price lunches, and many other programs that public schools provide.
|The State of Texas should not spend tax dollars to pilot test a bad idea.
Tax-funded pilot projects should only be conducted to test good ideas.
Vouchers are a bad idea! A pilot voucher program would not be a “lifeboat”
for some students, as claimed. A voucher system would be the Titanic,
draining needed funds from public schools where most of the students would
|Vouchers would destroy the “private” in private schools.
Parents of children in private schools don’t want the status quo disturbed
for their children—they want their schools to be truly private. Private
schools accepting tax-funded vouchers would become subject to government
regulation. Schools likely would have to change admission requirements,
implement state-required testing, comply with discipline and expulsion laws,
and allow voucher students to be exempted from religious activities.
|Inserting the word “private” doesn’t make a school good.
There is no proof that private school vouchers would improve students’
academic performance. In fact, students attending private schools under the
Milwaukee and Cleveland voucher programs did not outperform their public
|Vouchers would promote further religious and economic stratification in our society.
Private elementary and secondary schools have been founded primarily by two types of entities: (1) religious denominations seeking to teach academics
interwoven with their religious doctrine, and (2) wealthier parents wanting
to give their children an advantage over other children. Tax-funded vouchers
for private schools would increase divisions between rich and poor and among different religions, threatening the future of our American democracy.
|Public policy should respect parental choice but provide for all
The best public policy is to provide parents with even more choices within
the public schools, which serve 94.5% of Texas children. Legislators should
concentrate on making all public schools stronger, safer, more challenging
and accountable. Public tax dollars should be spent only to improve public
schools—not to assist the small number of parents who choose to enroll their
children in private academies or religious schools.