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

Three ways the ‘sanctuary cities’ bill could affect Austin
Three ways the ‘sanctuary cities’ bill could affect Austin

With the Texas House’s late-night approval of the bill to ban so-called sanctuary cities, the measure will all but certainly become law. The Senate has already approved Senate Bill 4, and Gov. Greg Abbott has made signing it one of his top priorities for this legislative session. Here are some ways that the bill could affect Austin: 1. Travis...
More than 20 Austin-area high schools make U.S. News’ national ranking
More than 20 Austin-area high schools make U.S. News’ national ranking

U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of best high schools in America is out, and Austinites are sure to recognize a local school that cracked the top 50.  The Liberal Arts and Science Academy, housed at the Lyndon B. Johnson High School campus, ranked the highest of Austin-area schools on the national list. No stranger to various ...
TxDOT launches motorcycle awareness campaign as riding season gets into high gear
TxDOT launches motorcycle awareness campaign as riding season gets into high gear

The Texas Department of Transportation is again asking drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists as they hit the highways over the next few months. TxDOT officials joined city leaders, emergency medical personnel and motorcyclists on Thursday morning to launch the “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign ahead of Motorcycle...
Ohio man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria
Ohio man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria

An Ohio man is in federal custody, facing charges related to attempting to provide material support to terrorist group ISIS. FBI agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Force on Wednesday arrested Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, at Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport. Alebbini was on his way to Syria to join ISIS fighters, the FBI said. Authorities said...
DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: UT police investigate incident near Dean Keeton, San Jacinto streets
DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: UT police investigate incident near Dean Keeton, San Jacinto streets

University of Texas and Austin police are on the hunt for a gunman following reports of a drive-by shooting on campus Thursday morning. The scene unfolded near the intersection of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto streets just after 10 a.m., when man in a white sedan shot at an unidentified person that he apparently knew, University police said in a...
More Stories