From Caroline Grannan via Facebook:
School vouchers (public money for private school tuition) are one of the many things that sound really good until you look a little more closely. To paraphrase President Trump, nobody knew it could be so complicated. Here are some things.1. The fantasy that poor kids are going to Town or Hamlin or you-name-it Elite Private Acres Academy is delusion. Vouchers would no way cover the tuition, and those schools don’t want and couldn’t handle challenging low-income students. That’s why the private-school sector doesn’t really support vouchers — they’re afraid they might be pressured to accept students they don’t want and aren’t equipped to serve.
2. In places where vouchers have existed for a long time, educational achievement and the fortunes of impoverished kids have not budged. (Milwaukee has been voucher mecca, since the ’90s. There’s been no benefit for kids or the community whatsoever.)
3. What has happened is lots of theft, corruption and waste as people open phony private schools just to rake in the public funds. Plus presumably plenty of well-meaning incompetents who didn’t intend to steal, but find that it’s not that simple to run a school.
4. If not means-tested (given only to low-income families), vouchers are welfare for the privileged who are already using private schools.
5. Vouchers just given to low-income families will mostly send them to bare-bones private schools or the frauds, crooks and incompetents mentioned above, since they won’t cover tuition at elite private schools and elite private schools only want the very most carefully selected high-functioning low-income kids.
6. Private schools are not magic. Their benefit is that they select their students and don’t accept challenging, troubled, hard-to-teach or high-need students. Obviously, they’re not going to solve the real challenges of education since they won’t touch them. Also, people who think private-school teachers are better, that’s BS. They are teaching handpicked students. If you plunked a class full of high-need, impoverished students into their school, they would face the same challenges all teachers do.
7. So, vouchers for private schools aren’t going to help any kids whom private schools don’t want to accept, and those are the ones who most need help. And that means a privatized school system isn’t going to solve any problems. All it will do is harm public schools and the kids they serve, and ultimately eliminate public education, which is the real intent.