School Voucher Programs

Nation’s only federally funded voucher program has negative effect on student achievement, study finds, By Emma Brown and Mandy McLaren, April 27, 2017, Washington Post: “Students in the nation’s only federally funded school voucher initiative performed worse on standardized tests within a year after entering D.C. private schools than peers who did not participate, according to a new federal analysis that comes as President Trump is seeking to pour billions of dollars into expanding the private school scholarships nationwide.  The study, released Thursday by the Education Department’s research division, follows several other recent studies of state-funded vouchers in Louisiana, Indiana and Ohio that suggested negative effects on student achievement…”

School Voucher Programs – Wisconsin

Wisconsin voucher programs march toward 30,000 student threshold, By Erin Richards, December 8, 2014, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “The total number of students receiving private-school tuition vouchers in Wisconsin is about to cross the 30,000 threshold. The three voucher programs in Milwaukee, Racine and statewide enroll 29,683 students, according to results of the official state headcount in September. That makes Wisconsin a leading state when it comes to the number of students attending private, mostly religious schools with the help of taxpayer-funded tuition subsidies…”

School Voucher Program – Indiana

Indiana public schools wage ad campaign to persuade families not to flee to private classrooms, Associated Press, August 20, 2012, Washington Post: “Struggling Indiana public school districts are buying billboard space, airing radio ads and even sending principals door-to-door in an unusual marketing campaign aimed at persuading parents not to move their children to private schools as the nation’s largest voucher program doubles in size. The promotional efforts are an attempt to prevent the kind of student exodus that administrators have long feared might result from allowing students to attend private school using public money. If a large number of families abandon local districts, millions of dollars could be drained from the state’s public education system…”

School Voucher Programs

Political, legal fights over school vouchers’ fate, By Kimberly Hefling (AP), Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Students like Delano Coffy are at the heart of brewing political fights and court battles over whether public dollars should go to school vouchers to help make private schools more affordable. He was failing in his neighborhood public elementary school in Indianapolis until his mother enrolled him in a Roman Catholic school. Heather Coffy has scraped by for years to pay the tuition for Delano, now 16 and in a Catholic high school, and his two younger siblings, who attend the same Catholic elementary as their brother did. She’s getting help today from a voucher program, passed last year at the urging of GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, that allows her to use state money for her children’s education. ‘I can’t even tell you how easy I can breathe now knowing that for at least for this year my kids can stay at the school,’ said the single mother, who filed a petition in court in support of the law. The state Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the law, which provides vouchers worth on average more than $4,000 a year to low- and middle-income families. A family of four making about $60,000 a year qualifies…”

School Vouchers – Indiana

Indiana lawmakers OK broadest voucher plan in U.S., By Deanna Martin (AP), Indianapolis Star: “Indiana will create the nation’s broadest private school voucher system and enact other sweeping education changes, making the state a showcase of conservative ideas just as Gov. Mitch Daniels nears an announcement on a 2012 presidential run. The Republican-controlled state legislature handed Daniels a huge victory today when the GOP-led House voted 55-43 to give final approval to a bill creating the controversial voucher program. It would allow even middle-class families to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools. Unlike other systems that are limited to lower-income households, children with special needs or those in failing schools, Indiana’s voucher program will be open to a much larger pool of students, including those already in excellent schools. Families would have to meet certain income limits to qualify, with families of four making up to about $60,000 a year getting some type of scholarship…”

Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

High turnover complicates study of choice schools’ progress, By Jason Stein, August 12, 2010, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “A long-range study evaluating voucher schools in Milwaukee is finding little difference in academic achievement between their students and those in public schools, state auditors said Thursday. But the study is complicated by the fact that three years into the research, most of the private school students selected for it are no longer attending schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Only 1,097, or 40.2%, of the 2,727 voucher school students selected for the study in the 2006-’07 school year were still part of the choice program by the 2008-’09 school year, according to the report by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. ‘It’s a very mobile population,’ state Auditor Jan Mueller said of Milwaukee students. The report analyzed data and results gathered by academics at the University of Arkansas to compare math and reading test scores of choice program students with those of similar students in Milwaukee Public Schools. The report looked at a representative sample of voucher students attending third through eighth grades during the 2006-’07 school year, as well as all ninth-graders…”

School Voucher Program – Washington, DC

D.C. school vouchers have a brighter outlook in Congress, By Robert Tomsho, October 19, 2009, Wall Street Journal: “The District of Columbia’s embattled school-voucher program, which lawmakers appeared to have killed earlier this year, looks like it could still survive. Congress voted in March not to fund the program, which provides certificates to pay for recipients’ private-school tuition, after the current school year. But after months of pro-voucher rallies, a television-advertising campaign and statements of support by local political leaders, backers say they are more confident about its prospects. Even some Democrats, many of whom have opposed voucher efforts, have been supportive…”