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NSBA Statement Opposing the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Latest Federal Voucher Proposal

February 28, 2019

NSBA Opposes Secretary of Education’s Latest Federal Voucher Proposal

By Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director and CEO

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), representing more than 90,000 local school board members across the nation, working with and through our state associations, expresses strong opposition to the U.S. Department of Education’s latest federal voucher proposal, and urges Congress to reject the Education Freedom Scholarship and Opportunity Act and similar proposals to expand tuition tax credits for private schools.

NSBA opposes efforts such as the latest federal tax scheme that encourage disinvestment in the success of our local public school districts and communities. This latest effort to divert public dollars away from public schools and communities is an expansion of the federal role in public education, and contrary to the intent of Congress in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The proposal ignores the fundamental reality that most public school districts already offer students a wide range of choices and opportunities. These vary from academic concentrations in specific areas such as the arts or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to different career pathways, advanced placement courses, and include magnet schools and charter schools authorized by local school boards to public specialty schools, such as military academies. School board officials support choice, and employ a lot of creative ideas to provide it, but sending tax dollars to schools that lack local supervision is not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

Unlike private schools receiving public dollars through voucher schemes, public schools remain fully accountable for the use of public funds under both state and federal laws. This latest effort could result in the loss of many procedural due process and civil rights guaranteed by federal law for those parents unwittingly opting to remove their students from public schools under the guise of Educational Freedom. ‘Educational freedom’ is simply another name for voucher.

More information about School Choice can be found in “School Choice: What the Research Says,” Center for Public Education, National School Boards Association, January 2017, https://www.nsba.org/cpe-school-choice-what-the-research-says

 

 

 

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