School Vouchers | Let’s Talk | NPR

School vouchers are a big controversial idea
that President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos both support. Some 15 states offer them. Plus Washington, D.C., which has the only federally funded voucher program in the nation. A traditional voucher program lets parents
choose where to spend some or all the money a state would have spent on their child in
a public school. That includes taking the money to a private
school or even a private religious school. And that’s why critics have argued that
vouchers violate the Constitution’s establishment clause, which says: “Congress shall make
no law respecting an establishment of religion.” But in 2002, in a 5-4 split, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that Ohio’s voucher program was constitutional. The court held that government was not choosing
to spend state money in religious schools, parents were. And that made all the difference. Today, the majority of states still do not
have voucher programs because their state constitutions have what are known as Blaine
amendments. These specifically prohibit the use of public
dollars in private, religious schools. Blaine was a Republican lawmaker in the late
1800s who pushed this idea at the federal level. He failed, but many states went ahead and
added the language to their state constitutions. Voucher programs vary a lot from state to
state. They’re generally limited to low- and middle-income
students or students with disabilities. Ohio, for example, has a voucher dedicated
exclusively to students on the autism spectrum. These programs often give students less money
than the state would have spent in a public school. This is true in Indiana, which has the largest,
single statewide program in the country, now serving 34,000 students. Supporters of vouchers say they’re a kind
of social justice, giving low-income students access to schools they couldn’t otherwise
afford. Meanwhile, voucher critics argue that, too
often, these programs divert public funds to private schools — and that, in some programs,
private schools are actually allowed to cherry-pick students, turning away low-performers and
even kids with disabilities. As for the research on vouchers — it’s been
mixed. There’s limited evidence, early on, that some
students benefited from a shift to private schools, but more recent studies of programs
in Louisiana, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis have shown voucher students actually losing
ground, in some cases significantly. One potential benefit of vouchers shows up
in multiple studies — it’s a slight improvement in the performance of nearby public school
students. Though, of course, that only helps the kids
who choose NOT to use vouchers. Our team at NPR Ed has spent the past few
months looking into some of the nation’s oldest and/or largest voucher programs. Be sure to check out our work at the link
somewhere near my head right now.

23 thoughts on “School Vouchers | Let’s Talk | NPR

  1. I wonder what Republicans will think when the first Muslim schools are opened. I have a feeling it'll go something like this: "I don't want my tax dollars going to the religion of ISIS!" Inequality is always attractive when you're the one on top, and it's easy to convince yourself this is the way it ought to be.

  2. Florida has a tax credit program to circumvent our Blaine amendment. What percentage of a donation becomes a tax credit?

  3. I think vouchers are okay but there should be strict regulations, requiring that schools receiving vouchers teach children at least as much as a public school (at least the same content). This would mean religious schools could tech their religion so long as they are still teaching all other content.

  4. With its recently passed voucher expansion law, Arizona now has the most expansive voucher program in the country. Over the loud and continuous opposition of the citizens of Arizona, Governor Ducey pushed SB1431 through the legislature–Betsy DeVos tweeted her congrats to him right after he signed the bill. But the citizens of Arizona have had enough privatizing of public education. We are nearly last for teacher pay and student achievement. There's a grassroots, statewide, all volunteer effort to repeal SB1431 and demand that our lawmakers support public education. We support school choice, but we do NOT support the voucher expansion. We want good choices for the majority of AZ kids and families who choose public schools.

  5. FUCKING DUMBASSES AND LAIRS. the voucher system is NOT about money because that has nothing to do with performance which is why home schooled students out perform a vast majority of public schools. parents don't have expensive computers, gyms, automotive, drafting or any other elaborate set up BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT THE TEACHING. this lying asshole in this video says that public schools were doing better because vouchers did EXACTLY what they were suppose to and that is to increase the level of teaching. why the fuck can parents how teach the professional teachers that have 4 year college degrees? BECAUSE THOSE TEACHERS ARE FUCKING LAZYING ASSHOLES!!! what the fuck is comparing autism students to regular students??? that is comparing a fucking grape to a watermelon. we are not robots that are all designed to the same specifications. we are all unique individuals so fucking yes you god damn lying assholes, schools should absolutely kick out kids that can't or won't do the work. saying every one needs to the same is setting the lowest standards possible because you make a retarded person smart but you can hit a smart person in the head till they are retarded too. fucking dumbasses

  6. Tax dollars are intended for the better secular education of all children, not the private religious education of a few.

  7. I find it absolutely amazing that the HUGE sexual molestation problem in gov. K-12 is simply ignored in the debate.

  8. I like how NPR pretends to be in the middle on this. School Vouchers is about choice, how it get funded is another topic. The fact that were arguing whether someone has to keep their kids in shitty schools raises questions. Whether vouchers work or not putting the choice in the parents hands should be fought for imho.

  9. White Liberals rather doom black kids to substandard inner-city schools then have them attend the schools the white kids attend.

    Opposition of school vouchers is inherently racist!

  10. Students lose ground because the public schools require so little of them,that it's hard to get up to speed.

  11. if the education is mandatory under current law and the citizens are taxed toward education then why not give these very citizens a choice where to take their kids given that the voucher reflects an average spent on student – lowering the voucher dollar amount compared to average cost of education is unfair – not giving a family an equal choice.
    The proposed amendment he used should not be included in deliberations since 1) the education is mandatory, 2) the parents are taxed regardless to which school they take their kids – religious or not – so that is unambiguously out.
    Under the current system (where everyone is taxed toward education, 2) education is mandatory) those that can't afford private school aren't given a choice – they are stuck with a public school system whether they like it or not. so why not avoid a situation of no choice if there is a possibility – definitely, this might be a majority's situation – they don't like their assigned school district, but aren't given a choice of school, however they are taxed just like everybody else.
    The final math will end up as following: those, currently using private education (let's not mind they tax deductions for a moment, even though they are significant) will be granted vouchers. this will be offset (never mind the tax benefits they are claiming today) by the reduction in size of Dept. of Ed, it's wasteful bureaucracy (a few hundred billion there), it's fraud (another undoubtedly huge chunk of cash), it's uniformity ( a curriculum that might not be desirable by everyone). On the other hand, the choice, given to parents, their mindfulness over the matter and resulting added responsibility for their kid's education. Plus, the better performing already existing public school system that will have to compete for students now.
    Another benefit that might come from this is the creation of new private schools that will be dynamic enough to offer a desired curriculum.
    Maybe the biggest benefit of all may be the better accountability given to parents for their kids education – the market doesn't bare failure, schools will have to provide a quality product in order to compete, teachers will be incensed and motivated to perform in this new setting – no slack will be tolerated by students and parents that see exactly where their money goes, and slack will be tolerated by a school administration since they are also among those motivated to perform. and stay in business. And there is nothing wrong with business if dollars can make your kid have better language skills, know more math, behave better and be generally motivated to learn. Knowing that it is not a free affair helps that a lot.
    I don't know what other reasons the socialists have against free choice, but, personally, I'd prefer a choice instead of not having one and this, essentially, what the argument for or against vouchers is about, FREE CHOICE.

  12. Cutting the bureaucrat and the fraudster from department of Ed. will pay salary of amount of teachers already on the payroll. Education is done teacher to student, not the massive Government Department to a number of statistical average kids. Definitely, out with Dept of Ed. YES TO VOUCHERS! to heck with bureaucracy. Who cares about the piece of calligraphic paper with a government stamp after twelve boring years of non-care and non-attention. Reading skills and small classrooms will beat that every time. HS Diploma, who needs that if at the end a kid is still an imbecile.

  13. Government – out of Education. It's good enough to collect taxes towards it. No more. We will find teachers for our kids better than a stupid dept of ed. VOUCHERS! 100 %.

  14. Vouchers will be the end of the neighborhood schools. It won't help the poor because they don't have the means to get to those schools. It will deplete funds and talent and leave neighborhood schools in a shambles.

  15. I support the voucher program except for one thing, those vouchers shouldn't be allowed to used in private religious schools that discriminate gays and disregard for basic scientific facts like Evolution.
    Why not allowed? Because the Constitution states that there is a Separation of Church and State.

  16. To say this is something that “benefit students” blatantly ignores the wide spread corruption that has plagued programs and ideas similar to this. The voucher schools, by definition, are private schools and DO NOT have to follow the same rules and laws as public schools do. They are also governed by PRIVATELY APPOINTED BOARD of DIRECTORS. When there is no oversight people will swindle away tax dollars. Still not convinced… then check the facts and stats yourself for voucher schools… go for it!

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