You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Experts: Private school vouchers didn’t work in other states


Highlights

Opponents of private school vouchers said the system doesn’t improve student performance.

Opponents said that private school vouchers are the same as education savings accounts.

A rally to support school choice initiatives, including education savings accounts, is slated for Tuesday.

If Texans want to see how a private school voucher system would fare in their state, they should look no further than failed voucher systems in other states, traditional public school supporters said on Monday.

The Austin-based Coalition for Public Schools held a symposium at the Capitol, inviting researchers to explain how other states’ voucher systems failed to hold private schools accountable and improve the performance of students, particularly those who are lower income.

“The answer is no and the evidence is fairly robust and many of the studies have shown that kids in voucher schools are not performing better than kids in traditional schools,” said Luis Huerta, associate professor of education and public policy at Columbia University.

The event came a day before thousands were expected to rally in Austin in favor of school choice, an umbrella term that is often used to describe allowing the use of state money to support privately-run schools. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who along with Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to speak at the rally on Tuesday, has made school choice one of his legislative priorities this session.

The Austin school district, which could stand to lose money from school choice legislation, is expected to hold a separate rally on Tuesday to highlight its academic programs.

Momentum seems to be on the side of school voucher proponents, with the governor’s expected support and some lawmakers who had opposed voucher efforts in the past no longer in office.

A likely school choice bill would create education savings accounts for students who want to leave their traditional public school. The state would deposit about $5,600 in an account and a student could use the money to pay for other educational options like home or private schooling.

READ: School choice plan gets lukewarm reception at Texas House hearing

Randan Steinhauser, executive director of Texans for Educational Opportunity and an influential voice in the development of education savings accounts legislation, said that the statements from the coalition’s invited researchers were flawed. School choice supporters want to create opportunities for students who are stuck in schools that aren’t working for them while creating an accountable system, she said.

“There is accountability with these funds because they would be administered by the comptroller’s office, audited quarterly and only be used on approved educational expenses,” she said. “Education savings accounts are not vouchers.”

Charles Luke with the coalition disagrees and said that both savings accounts and vouchers are interchangeable.

“A voucher by another name is still a thorn in the side of taxpayers whose tax dollars would be diverted away from public trust and used for a purpose with no accountability,” Luke said.

READ: Are education savings accounts the new private school vouchers?

Julie Mead, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who was invited by the coalition to speak, said that vouchers erode public schools, which are required to serve all students and teach by a state-approved curriculum. Private schools have different requirements.

She said that in Milwaukee, children in the voucher system make up a majority of students in some private schools.

“I’d like to have us think about what in fact is at stake and are we willing collectively … to let go of those aspects of publicness in the hope that a privatized system might do something different?” Mead said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Shirtless man brandishing knives threatens Michigan restaurant patrons
Shirtless man brandishing knives threatens Michigan restaurant patrons

A man walked into a Michigan restaurant Tuesday, waving knives at customers and ordering them to leave, WJBK reported. >> Read more trending news The 26-year-old man walked into the Mexican Fiesta restaurant in Dearborn Heights and threatened customers, witnesses told WJBK. "He was really loud, and excuse my language, (he said) everybody...
83-year old allegedly steals ambulance, drives home
83-year old allegedly steals ambulance, drives home

An 83-year-old New York man checked himself out of a hospital in the middle of the night Tuesday and then allegedly stole an ambulance to get home, WNBC reported. Donald Winkler of Merrick reportedly was unhappy with the treatment he had received after being admitted to Nassau University Medical Center last week, so at 1 a.m. Tuesday he checked...
More millenials live with parents in S. Florida than anywhere else
More millenials live with parents in S. Florida than anywhere else

A new study suggests that millennials in South Florida live with their parents at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. >> Read more trending news  The study conducted by Abodo found that 44.8 percent of millennials in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area still live with their parents. That’s the highest percentage...
Fire destroys North Dakota church owned by white supremacist 
Fire destroys North Dakota church owned by white supremacist 

A North Dakota church recently bought by a self-proclaimed white supremacist has burned to the ground, KVRR reported. >> Read more trending news  The Attorney General’s office said there isn’t any new information to release, but Craig Cobb said he knows the fire was set intentionally and believes it was a hate crime. &ldquo...
15% of UT women report being raped, Capitol hearing reveals
15% of UT women report being raped, Capitol hearing reveals

A survey of University of Texas undergraduates found that 15 percent of women reported being raped while enrolled at the Austin campus. The survey result, revealed Thursday during a Capitol hearing on four bills to address what was described as an “epidemic” of sexual assaults on college campuses, jolted several senators and brought promises...
More Stories