The Truth About D.C. Vouchers

Edit Memo from Ralph Neas

This week, both the House and Senate are expected to consider legislation to create a “pilot” private school voucher program for the District of Columbia. This legislation represents an ominous step toward federally sponsored privatization of public education that heavily favors the wealthiest families to the detriment of the majority of public school students.

A private school voucher program would have treacherous ramifications for the students, families and teachers in the District of Columbia. And, it would set a terrible precedent for public school systems around the nation.

Private school voucher programs do not promote academic success, provide academic or fiscal accountability, or expand parents’ and students’ educational options, but they do threaten core civil rights protections and undermine the separation of church and state.

Moreover, the specific program being advanced for the District of Columbia is particularly flawed. It does not have the support of the citizens of the District and the elected leaders who represent them. It does not make adequate provision for accountability and oversight. And, there are no guarantees of fairness in student acceptance.

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