Governor Bill Lee isn’t happy that members of his own party aren’t happy with the rocky rollout of the state’s voucher program, according to the Tennessean.
Gov. Bill Lee says the state should continue to move forward with implementing a school voucher program as quickly as possible, despite ongoing concerns being raised by legislators on both sides of the aisle.
Lee said Thursday the implementation of the program was being “hampered” by “detractors to a process,” and reiterated that he pushed for the program to “give kids in our state a high-quality education.”
Those “detractors” are worried about pesky little details like no-bid contracts and overspending.
It’s also worth noting that significant evidence indicates that vouchers don’t actually help kids, and in fact, can leave them lagging behind academically:
The first results came in late 2015. Researchers examined an Indiana voucher program that had quickly grown to serve tens of thousands of students under Mike Pence, then the state’s governor. “In mathematics,” they found, “voucher students who transfer to private schools experienced significant losses in achievement.” They also saw no improvement in reading.
The next results came a few months later, in February, when researchers published a major study of Louisiana’s voucher program. Students in the program were predominantly black and from low-income families, and they came from public schools that had received poor ratings from the state department of education, based on test scores. For private schools receiving more applicants than they could enroll, the law required that they admit students via lottery, which allowed the researchers to compare lottery winners with those who stayed in public school.
They found large negative results in both reading and math. Public elementary school students who started at the 50th percentile in math and then used a voucher to transfer to a private school dropped to the 26th percentile in a single year. Results were somewhat better in the second year, but were still well below the starting point.
In June, a third voucher study was released by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank and proponent of school choice. The study, which was financed by the pro-voucher Walton Family Foundation, focused on a large voucher program in Ohio. “Students who use vouchers to attend private schools have fared worse academically compared to their closely matched peers attending public schools,” the researchers found. Once again, results were worse in math.
It’s no wonder so many “detractors” are trying to “hamper the process.”
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