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Secret Finding from PDK Poll: Support for Vouchers is Rising

Education Next – Paul E. Peterson

“The just released PDK survey of U. S. adults reveals an upward shift in public support for vouchers of 10 percentage points over the past four years, with 8 of those percentage points gained since 2015. Meanwhile, voucher opposition fell by 18 percentage points over this same four-year time period. Although this finding is not reported by PDK in this year’s analysis of its findings, it emerges sharp and clear if one takes a close look at earlier PDK poll results.”(more)

New Research: Louisiana Voucher Results Swing Upward

The 74 Million – David Cantor

“Private school choice has become the one issue in education where the release of an academic paper stops traffic. Advocates for and against vouchers anxiously await — and, because choice is now the most politicized issue in education — intensely debate the latest findings. The most recent research study: a report released Monday by Jonathan N. Mills and Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas, who study the voucher-awarding Louisiana Scholarship Program. Mills and Wolf determine that students in the program, after initially falling behind, are on par with their public school counterparts after three years in the program.”(more)

U-turn on Vouchers

Education Next – Joshua Dunn

“In January, the Florida Supreme Court dismissed a legal challenge to the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program, thereby preserving financial aid opportunities for thousands of low-income students to attend private schools. The decision marked an about-face for the court. In 2006, the court had struck down the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, a voucher program for students trapped in failing public schools (see “Florida Grows a Lemon,” legal beat, Summer 2006). But left unchallenged at the time was the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for students of limited means to attend private schools. Unlike state-subsidized voucher programs, which are funded by collected tax revenues, this program bypasses state coffers by giving corporations a dollar-for-dollar tax break when they contribute to a scholarship funding organization. Started in 2001, the program has become extremely popular, growing to serve almost 100,000 students, most of them minorities, during the 2016–17 school year. Naturally, the state teachers union wants to kill the program.”(more)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to roll out school choice plan in Indy

Fox 59 – Russ McQuaid

“Before she was picked by President Trump to head up the U.S. Department of Education, Betsy DeVos was the chairwoman of the American Federal for Children, a pro-school choice lobbying group. When she visits Indianapolis tonight, Secretary DeVos will address a sea of friendly and familiar faces at the AFC’s National Policy Summit at the Westin Hotel. It’s expected DeVos will roll out a Trump administration plan to provide tax credits to corporations and individuals who donate money to groups and schools that provide school choice scholarships to students and parents.”(more)

What you need to know about school vouchers

E-School News – Julian Vasquez Heilig

“President Donald Trump has proposed cutting after-school programs for young children, as well as grants and federal work-study programs for college students. But his most significant attack on public education may be his pledge to spend $20 billion on market-based school choice, including charter schools and vouchers. Conventional voucher policies now exist in 16 states. Taxpayers in those states help pay private-school tuition for about 175,000 students each year. Education savings accounts that let states circumnavigate constitutional language against public funding for private and religious organizations are used in 17 states and generate another 250,000 vouchers annually.”(more)

Don’t Neglect Vouchers’ Competitive Effects

Education Next – Aaron Churchill

“With a $20 billion federal educational choice program now a real possibility under the Trump Administration and Republican-led Congress, the media spotlight has turned to the voucher research. The discussion often revolves around the question of participant effects—whether students are better off when they use a voucher to transfer to a private school. In recent days, voucher naysayers have pointed to the negative participant findings from recent studies in Louisiana and Ohio in order to attack the idea. (I oversaw the latter study as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Ohio research director.).”(more)