Sunday, July 03, 2005

Ohio to add 14,000 vouchers

Ohio will soon have the largest voucher program in the nation. Apparently, Gov. Taft's proposal to have 2,600 vouchers wasn't good enough for Republican legislative leaders who upped it to 14,000 in their budget. Taft signed it into law.

Along with Wisconsin and Florida, Ohio will continue to be a test case for vouchers.

From the article in the Akron Beacon:

Supporters of school choice have worked to set up and expand programs since 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Cleveland's program - which includes religious schools - does not violate the separation of church and state.

Measures in seven states failed this year.

In Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada and Texas, lawmakers defeated start-up voucher programs or left sessions with the bills stalled. An expansion in Wisconsin and a new program in Arizona were vetoed.

...Attorney John West, who has argued against voucher programs in Ohio, Colorado and Florida, suggests other educational alternatives, such as reduced class sizes and after-school programs, for improving student performance.

"This is not the way to fix public schools," he said of vouchers, adding that many proponents are using tuition for disadvantaged students as a "foot in the door" for universal voucher programs.

Mr. West has it right. I'm sorry to say but I just don't buy it when suburban Republicans say they're for vouchers to help out kids in failing urban schools. Then, in the next breath, they'll vote against any new resources for those very same schools. Clearly, this is part of a larger strategy for universal access to vouchers.

Everybody concerned with the future of education should be watching the success or failure of the voucher program in Ohio very closely.


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