Past and Current Contributors to the Black Alliance for Education Options:
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation
Helen Bader Foundation, Inc.
Milton & Rose Friedman Foundation
American Education Reform Council
*Up until August 21, 2001, BAEO listed its contributors on its web site. After launching a revamped Web site on August 23, contributors were apparently no longer disclosed.
Recent Facts about School Vouchers
Lack of Public Support
In 2000, voters in Michigan and California overwhelmingly defeated voucher proposals by margins of more than 2 to 1. In Michigan, 69 percent of all voters and 77 percent of African-American voters rejected the proposal. In California, 71 percent of all voters, 68 percent of African-American voters and 77 percent of Latino voters rejected the voucher initiative. Vouchers have been defeated every other time they have been subjected to a statewide referendum, never receiving more than 36 percent of voter support. California voters also rejected vouchers in 1993. Other voucher proposals were defeated in Washington state in 1996, Colorado in 1992, and Oregon in 1990.
The Cost of Vouchers
Conservative estimates placed the cost of a national voucher program at $73 billion – 25 percent more than the annual national public education budget.54 Former U.S Education Secretary Richard Riley estimated that a voucher program open to all students would cost taxpayers more than $15 billion for the 5 million students already enrolled in private schools before then first public school student entered a voucher school.55
Wisconsin taxpayers pay an average of 40 percent more per child to send students to Milwaukee voucher schools than a parent pays to send their child to the very same private schools.56 And voucher money does come at the expense of the public schools. The Cleveland voucher program is funded through the city’s portion of the state’s Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid (DPIA),57 thereby decreasing funds available for Cleveland programs for disadvantaged public school students.58 In its second year, the Cleveland program exceeded its budget by 41 percent and the shortfall was covered with funds earmarked for public schools.59 At the same time, several public schools had to borrow against future revenues to keep their doors open.60
The Effectiveness of Vouchers
There has been no conclusive research documenting the effectiveness of voucher programs. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, surveyed existing voucher research and reported that “contract researcher teams for Cleveland and Milwaukee found little or no statistically significant differences in voucher students’ achievement test scores compared to public school students….”61
People For the American Way Foundation has also analyzed research funded by voucher advocates claiming to show that voucher programs are effective. For information on how this research has distorted the facts about vouchers, see the Voucher section of our site.