The Tennessee School Boards Association is out with an op-ed on its opposition to vouchers. Here are four key points taken directly from the piece:
1. Vouchers use your money to help pay for a student to go to a private school that answers to private administrators and not you the taxpayer. Public schools must answer to the people and are held accountable for the use of local, state and federal educational tax money.
2. Article XI, Section 12 of the Tennessee Constitution specifically states “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance, support and eligibility standards of a system of free public schools.” Nowhere in our constitution is the General Assembly directed to take taxpayer money and use it for a voucher system so parents can use public money to send their children to private schools.
3. Private schools are not public institutions, and without proper oversight the “qualifications and standards” for students may fall short of expectations and undermine the fundamental idea of equality in education. Vouchers require the public to supplement these standards even if they are contrary to state and federal education law.
4. Vouchers force the public to support two drastically different educational systems one over which the public has no oversight.
Essentially, the TSBA argument boils down to accountability and accessibility. Private schools simply aren’t (and won’t be) accountable to the taxpayers funding them. And private schools are not accessible to all Tennessee students, even with a voucher program.
It’s also worth noting that a voucher program would drive up the costs of local school districts without a corresponding increase in revenue.
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