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The voucher movement should be dead, in light of the numerous evaluations showing that voucher schools do not get better results than public schoools, and in many evaluations, voucher students lose ground compared to their peers in public schools.
The GOP is determined to siphon public dollars away from public schools and send them to religious schools.
Missouri Governor Parson just signed a voucher bill that will allow students to attend low-cost private and religious school while reducing the state’s revenues and reducing funding for public schools.
This is choice for the sake of choice, not for the benefit of students. This is the Betsy DeVos model.
The Associated Press reports:
Under the voucher-style program, private donors would give money to nonprofits that in turn would dole out the scholarships. The money could be used for private school tuition, transportation to school, extra tutoring and other education-related expenses.
Donors to the program would get state tax credits equal to the amount they give, an indirect way to divert state tax dollars to private education.
Parson’s signature represents a long-sought victory for primarily GOP advocates of so-called school choice legislation, which has struggled to gain traction with Missouri Republicans in rural areas where public schools likely would be students’ only option regardless of changes in state law.
“This legislation will empower students and parents with access to resources and educational opportunities that best meet the individual needs of their child,” Sen. Andrew Koenig, a suburban St. Louis Republican, said in a statement.
Critics of school voucher programs have said they funnel money away from public schools by drawing students out of those districts, leading to a drop in attendance and a subsequent drop in funding.
“Missouri is 49th in the country in average starting teachers’ salaries,” Melissa Randol, who heads the Missouri School Boards’ Association, said in a statement. “We need to invest in Missouri’s high quality teachers, rather than funnel money to institutions that have no accountability to taxpayers for how they spend taxpayers’ dollars or how they educate our children.”
Only K-12 students in the state’s largest cities — those with at least 30,000 residents — would be able to get the scholarships. That includes St. Louis, Kansas City and many of their suburbs. It also covers Springfield, Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City, Joplin and St. Joseph.