This week has seen mounting recognition from different corners of the country that voucher systems fail to serve the interests of the nation’s children.
In Washington, the Government Accountability Office released a report on the federal taxpayer-funded D.C. voucher program that cited among other problems a lack of adequate oversight, failures of accountability, and the program’s failure to serve the very children the voucher statute requires be served. If the GAO’s critiques sound eerily familiar, it’s because People For the American Way Foundation issued similar findings about deficiencies in the program’s implementation nearly three years ago in its “Flaws and Failings” report. The GAO’s report is the latest indicator that the D.C. voucher program should not be re-authorized or given additional funding in the next authorization and appropriations cycles.
In Utah, voters through a public referendum resoundingly repealed a new voucher law that had been passed by the state legislature. The repeal of the voucher law in every single county was a clear message from the people of Utah that they support public schools. And in South Carolina, African-American ministers are leading a movement against a proposed voucher program they believe will ill serve the state’s children by draining scarce educational resources from the state’s public education system.
As evidence continues to mount that voucher programs don’t work and voters will consistently reject them when they are put to public referenda, it’s time lawmakers in Washington and across the country acknowledge that the best way to serve the nation’s children is to give public schools the resources they need rather than support fatally flawed voucher programs.