Education News

State Senators To Consider Several Proposals For School Vouchers In Texas

School vouchers allow families to use public tax dollars to help pay for private school tuition.

 

There’s a push in the Texas Legislature to create school vouchers.

the state of texas drawn on chalkboard-

They can take different forms, but essentially school vouchers pay for private school tuition with taxpayer dollars.

On Thursday, lawmakers will consider four different proposals for school vouchers at the Senate’s education committee.

They include tax credits for businesses and grant programs for taxpayers.

Supporters, like economist Arthur Laffer, believe that vouchers will transform education in Texas.

“I don’t see any downside to this at all. It saves money for the state and it gives choice to the individuals,” said Laffer, who wrote a glowing report about vouchers for the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

But others say those claims are false promises.

“Simply by increasing choice that doesn’t mean they are increasing access,” said Luis Huerta, a professor with Teachers College at Columbia University. He’s planning to testify at the senate hearing Thursday.

“Private organizations, specifically private schools, have the ability to choose whomever they want to enter into those schools,” he added.

Huerta said evidence contradicts another claim about vouchers — that students will perform better in private schools.

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In fact, he said research indicates that after students transfer to a private school, they often perform about the same as their peers back in public school — or even worse.

“And this is evidence from Milwaukee, from Cleveland, New York, some evidence from Washington, D.C.,” Huerta said.

For taxpayers in Texas, Huerta said there’s no way to hold private schools accountable for students’ education even if they receive public dollars.

 

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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