As Governor Bill Lee seeks to accelerate implementation of his school voucher scheme amid an FBI probe into the House vote on the legislation, more evidence is emerging suggesting school vouchers are harmful to students.
Two professors studying the issue offer this analysis in a recent article in The Hill:
Researchers — including several voucher advocates — have conducted nine rigorous, large-scale studies since 2015 on achievement in voucher programs. In no case did these studies find any statistically positive achievement gains for students using vouchers. But seven of the nine studies found that voucher students saw relative learning losses. Too often, these losses were substantial.
For instance, research on Louisiana’s program indicates that when some children performing squarely in the average range use a voucher to enroll in a private school, their scores fall almost to the lowest performing quartile of students overall. And initial hopes that those losses were temporary have not panned out.
Why would Tennessee’s Governor push a voucher scheme he knows won’t work?
It’s because he doesn’t care.
His service to the DeVos agenda means more to him than doing what’s best for Tennessee kids. Lee is willing to take money from Tennessee public schools and transfer to unaccountable private entities no matter what the evidence says. Here’s why:
The answer is shockingly simple and unsurprising: money. The details, though, reveal an unrelenting push to dismantle America’s public schools. Yes, this story includes familiar characters like Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers joining forces with a Tennessee cast to advance their vision for our nation’s schools. That vision: Public money flowing to private schools with little regard for the impact on students. In fact, the evidence is pretty clear—vouchers simply don’t achieve their stated goal of helping kids improve academic outcomes. Tennessee’s plan could result in taking more than $300 million away from local school districts to support private entities.
What’s more disappointing is the willingness of members of the Tennessee General Assembly to go along with this charade.
Instead of improving Tennessee’s investment in public schools, our state continues to lag behind — we’re at least $500 million short of properly funding the BEP – the state’s funding formula for schools.
Let me point out again that the authors reference nine studies — in seven, students LOST GROUND academically as a result of accepting vouchers. There were NO POSITIVE GAINS.
Vouchers don’t work. At all.
Governor Lee knows this. His team knows it. The leaders in the House and Senate know it.
They just don’t care. If they did, we wouldn’t see numbers like this year after year:
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