This week the Pennsylvania House Education Committee is hosting hearings on various voucher proposals, which are taxpayer funded tuition payments to private and/or religious schools. Advocates of these proposals argue that vouchers provide a true "choice" to parents and provide an opportunity to children that otherwise would not be allowed. But unfortunately for them, there is no research that proves this.
Recently, the Center on Education Policy released a report that reviews ten years of research on voucher programs, showing that students attending private schools do not generally attain higher scores than public school students.
At a time when money is tight and public education just received over $900 million in funding cuts, should our legislature throw taxpayer dollars into programs that have not proven to be successful? Is this really the time to experiment on Pennsylvania’s students? Especially when neither the sponsors of these bills nor the private proponents of choice know how much these programs would cost and how many children would be eligible (or how many of those eligible children are already attending a private school).
As Jack Jennings stated in his article on Huffington Post, (Jack Jennings: School Vouchers: No Clear Advantage in Academic Achievement):
“…we as a nation want good public schools for all students….If we really cared about improving the education of low-income students, we would guarantee them high-quality preschool programs, experienced elementary and secondary teachers, high academic standards and fair funding. This is what research tells us will really help those kids and what we are to commit to doing”
Unfortunately, this past budget proves that the majority of members in the General Assembly and Governor Corbett disagree...