Vouchers and Tuition Tax Credits Are a Form of Privatization

Vouchers make publicly funded scholarships available for private and parochial school tuition. The U.S. Supreme Court's 2002, decision in Zelman, the Cleveland voucher case, OK'd the awarding of state funded vouchers to pay for parochial school tuition even when the school offers religious instruction. Despite the First Amendment protection of religious freedom, according to the Court, the state is awarding the funds to the parent, not to the school itself. Until quite recently voucher programs operated only in Cleveland and Milwaukee, but Ohio's legislature recently passed a statewide voucher program, and in 2012 legislatures in Indiana and Louisiana have passed statewide voucher programs.

Eight states now offer vouchers for students with disabilities—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Ohio and Utah—although parents who accept vouchers to send their children to private schools thereby give up protection of their children's education rights under the federal Individuals for Disabilities Education Act by accepting the voucher.

May 20, 2013: The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss prints this piece by David Pickler, president of the National School Boards Association and president of the Tennessee Shelby County Board of Education, What’s Wrong with School ‘Choice’? Here’s What.

May 18, 2013: The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss reprints this Abby Rapoport piece from the American Prospect, Are School Vouchers Losing Steam?

April 19, 2013: Excellent video on problems with the Milwaukee voucher program.

March 7, 2013: Peter Montgomery of at Right Wing Watch, People for the American Way, explores growing move toward vouchers: Right-Wing Voucher Push Undermines Public Education & Constitution.

June 8, 2012: Krisstin Rawls for AlterNet explores 5 Ways Louisiana's New Voucher Program Spells Disaster for Public Education.

June 1, 2012: Reporter, Stephanie Simon reports on Louisiana's new statewide voucher program for Reuters: Louisiana's Bold Bid to Privatize Schools.

December 19, 2011: Education Week reports—Indiana Schools Grapple With Voucher Law's Impact.

Tuition tax credits are similar to vouchers, because they direct public funds to pay private school tuition. Tuition tax credits give people dollar-for-dollar tax write-offs when they elect to contribute to tuition scholarships for students to attend private schools.

May 21, 2012: NY Times reporter Stephanie Saul explores the workings of tuition tax credits in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida as well as the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council in pushing tuition tax credits in state legislatures.  The article is, Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools.

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