Fact Sheet- DC Voucher Program
“Michelle Rhee supports school vouchers as one of the “best educational options for all students” yet under her watch, math and reading scores of voucher students in private schools were statistically similar to those who were not offered scholarships”
Betsy DeVos and AFC implement think tank strategy to use vouchers to dismantle public schools
“Vouchers have always been a staple of the right-wing agenda. Like previous efforts, this most recent push for vouchers is led by a network of conservative think tanks, PACs, Religious Right groups and wealthy conservative donors.”
Scott Walker and Michelle Rhee come to DeVos-backed convention to gut public education.
“…”Private school choice” describes the practice of taking taxpayer dollars and shifting them to schools that are operated by non-profit and for-profit concerns – including corporations. It is a high priority of right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups that see breaking teacher unions as a critical policy and political goal for their movement. And it is a top priority for Michigan billionaires Dick and Betsy DeVos.”
The future of education, big business style
“The first step to the privatization of education is through expanding voucher programs that provide families with government funded certificates to offset the cost of private school tuition.”
Voucher advocate Betsy DeVos, right-wing think tanks behind Koch-style attack on public schools
“[The PA voucher bill is] being marketed as a solution to save public schools, but the big donors are tied to right-wing think tanks that openly advocate, and strategize, the end of public education.”
Hundreds protest Walker, Corbett, and Rhee at DeVos-funded “policy summit”
“School vouchers, of course, are a ploy to defund public schools and privatize education in the name of choice.”
The voucher veneer, the deeper agenda to privatize public education
“A network of Religious Right groups, free-market economists, ultraconservative columnists and others are using vouchers as a vehicle to achieve their ultimate goal of privatizing education.”
The case against school vouchers
“Voucher programs will worsen that structural inequity, draining money from the poorest public schools and providing public subsidies to private schools that tend to privilege middle- and upper-class students”
False Choice: How private school vouchers might harm minority students
”The ultimate fallacy of vouchers is that they are designed to deliver choices, not outcomes. In that process, minority students stand a serious chance of losing out.”
People for the American Way on DC Vouchers“Private school vouchers are a major component of a long-term campaign by the far right to undermine public schools and enrich religious organizations with government funds.”
Debunking myths about the DC voucher program“…reports have found that the voucher program is not improving student achievement”
Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Final report“The study found no conclusive evidence that [the DC voucher program] affected student achievement overall”
Comprehensive Longitudinal Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program “students in our [voucher] and [public school] panels are demonstrating achievement gains in reading and math that are generally equivalent”
Vouchers: What the research shows” For many supporters, voucher programs that are targeted to inner-city districts are simply a convenient stepping stone to large-scale, universal voucher plans that would pay for private schooling for the children of all families”
School Vouchers and Student Achievement: Recent Evidence, Remaining Questions”The best research to date finds relatively small achievement gains for students offered education vouchers, most of which are not statistically different from zero.”
Evaluation of Florida’s Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship program “[Florida voucher] Program participants experience slightly smaller test score gains than do those in the comparison group in the public 37 schools…”
Multiple Choice: Charter school performance in 16 states”Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than… traditional public schools.”
Public charter schools and students with disabilities
”Enrollment of students with more significant disabilities in charter schools is relatively rare”
Vouchers and “Gold Standard” research“The argument that vouchers don’t “cream” better-performing students from public schools is both ridiculous and unmeasured”
Written by Julie Mack for the Kalamazoo Gazette. Read the entire article here.
“Privatization of Michigan’s public education system is a “very real” threat, and a change that could make education about the bottom line versus what’s best for students, a state lawmaker said Monday at town-hall forum held in Kalamazoo.
Posted: 7:40PM, October 5, 2011
The Center for Education Policy recently released a research paper on vouchers that summarizes more than a decade’s worth of research on voucher effectiveness. You can read the entire report here. Some of its findings are:
- Additional research has demonstrated that vouchers do not have a strong effect on students’ academic achievement.
- The rhetoric used to support voucher programs has shifted, with some proponents giving less emphasis to rationales based on achievement and more emphasis to arguments based on graduation rates, parent satisfaction, and the value of choice in itself.
- Voucher programs and proposals are moving beyond just serving low-income families in particular cities to reaching middle-income families in a broader geographic area.
- Many of the newer voucher studies have been conducted or sponsored by organizations that support vouchers. Policy decisions about vouchers are often influenced by factors other than evidence from research about their impact or effectiveness. Many policymakers and other influential players in voucher debates have strong opinions about vouchers that are based on philosophy and values.
Posted: 12:05PM, July 27, 2011
This report by the Miami New Times exposes the shocking fraud and abuse occuring under Florida’s voucher program. Rhee is the “informal education adviser” to Florida Governor Rick Scott, and has championed vouchers at the American Federation for Childred summit, an event run by the same far-right front group that is pushing vouchers in Pennsylvania.
Written by Roy Boston, for Americans United. Read the original here.
“A shocking report from Miami New Times examines a number of private schools that are living off taxpayer funds thanks to the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students With Disabilities Program. What the newspaper found isn’t pretty.
The program doles out lots of taxpayer money to religious and other private schools, but it doesn’t provide any significant oversight. As New Times put it, “There is no accreditation requirement for McKay schools. And without curriculum regulations, the DOE can’t yank back its money if students are discovered to be spending their days filling out workbooks, watching B-movies, or frolicking in the park. In one ‘business management’ class, students shook cans for coins on street corners.” …
The most heart-breaking stories in the article… deal with poor, disabled youngsters whose parents unwittingly enroll them in fly-by-night schools hoping they’ll earn diplomas.
As New Times puts it, shady school operators prey on the downtrodden.”
Posted: 12:05PM, July 1, 2011
Originally posted on The Fight Back DC. Check out the original post for audio interviews with protest participants.
“We come down to D.C. today to protest the national campaign for vouchers,” said William Browning, legislative and education director of Action United, a social justice group in Pennsylvania.
“Wisconsin has had the voucher system for twenty years and has had no success,” Browning said last week outside the Washington Marriott where the right-wing American Federation for Children’s (AFC) education conference was taking place.
Speakers at the conference included Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Scott Walker, the anti-union governor of Wisconsin.
“We don’t want Pennsylvania to be following in the footsteps of Wisconsin,” said Browning. “All [that vouchers do] is siphon off the funds for public education and make it more difficult for our kids to receive public education.”
Also among the hundreds of protesters outside the Washington Marriott was Rachel Tabachnick, an independent researcher and writer from Pennsylvania.
“The public has a right to know that the voucher movement… is an astroturf movement very similar to what we saw with the Koch brothers and the war against the public sector unions in Wisconsin,” said Tabachnick.
In her recent article at Alternet (“The DeVos Family: Meet the Super-Wealthy Right-Wingers Working With the Religious Right to Kill Public Education”), Tabachnick wrote, “Since the 2010 elections, vouchers have popped up in legislatures around the nation. From Pennsylvania to Indiana to Florida, state governments across the country have introduced bills that would take money from public schools and use it to send students to private and religious institutions.”
“In essence you are just draining the funding from public schools,” said Tabachnick. “If you go and read the CATO Institute policy papers [or the] Heritage Foundation you will see that the intention is to drain the money from public schools, to make them not viable and to put that money into [the] privatization of education. That is the intent. They state it clearly. They’re proud of it.”
Posted: 4:30PM, May 25, 2011
Originally posted on the Huffington Post. Read the original article here.
“In her most recent HuffPost piece… [Rhee] goes on to make the same old tired arguments for school vouchers..
But Ms. Rhee’s missive intentionally avoids some very glaring problems, leading one to suspect her motivation and the motivation of other conservatives who press for vouchers and school choice.
Problem #1 is that vouchers as Ms. Rhee proposes them are essentially meaningless…
Problem #2 is that private schools are very expensive…
It is at some peril that we allow ourselves to be hoodwinked into publicly funding religious education or become complicit in the creation of a chaotic system of private, for-profit schools…
“Providing poor kids with the same opportunities as rich kids” is just manipulative propaganda.”
Posted: 3:27PM, May 13, 2011