Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, along with Senators Ensign and Alexander, and Representatives McKeon and Johnson, today introduced a massive national private school voucher program. People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas released the following statement.
“Pushing a national voucher program flies in the face of every bit of rhetoric about accountability in education. There’s never been any evidence that publicly funded vouchers will significantly help our students, but it’s perfectly clear that they’ll drain money from other programs that have shown tremendous success. Programs like Head Start and reforms like smaller classes have measurable impact, but this voucher program would send taxpayer dollars into a black hole: money goes in, but real accountability never comes out. According to the plan presented today, we’ll never know if students improve at all, but private schools would keep on getting public funds anyway.
“The very same officials who want to pour resources into a voucher program are those who have time and time again refused to fully fund programs proven to work. Neither Congress nor the President have ever attempted to fully fund No Child Left Behind, but now they throw up their hands and claim that public schools are broken beyond repair. That’s not true and it’s not honest. In fact a recent Department of Education study found that generally public schools outperform private ones. The goal of this movement isn’t to help students. It’s to achieve vouchers at any cost.”