Stephanie Simon, one of the nation’s best investigative education journalists, reports that vouchers are a costly failure. In every case where they were adopted, voucher advocates claimed they would “save poor kids from failing public schools,” but nowhere has the promise been true.

Voucher advocates insist that they are supporting the “right” of children to attend a private or religious school with public funds. But the students who have used vouchers are getting a raw deal, while taxpayers have shelled out $1 billion to voucher schools that are usually worse than the public schools.

Simon writes:

“In Milwaukee, just 13 percent of voucher students scored proficient in math and 11 percent made the bar in reading this spring. That’s worse on both counts than students in the city’s public schools. In Cleveland, voucher students in most grades performed worse than their peers in public schools in math, though they did better in reading.

“In New Orleans, voucher students who struggle academically haven’t advanced to grade-level work any faster over the past two years than students in the public schools, many of which are rated D or F, state data show.

“And across Louisiana, many of the most popular private schools for voucher students posted miserable scores in math, reading, science and social studies this spring, with fewer than half their voucher students achieving even basic proficiency and fewer than 2 percent demonstrating mastery. Seven schools did so badly, state Superintendent John White barred them from accepting new voucher students — though the state agreed to keep paying tuition for the more than 200 voucher students already enrolled, if they chose to stay.”

Due to the number of far-right governors and legislatures, voucher use is increasing, despite their meager results.

The latest Gallup Poll found that 70 percent of Americans oppose the use of public funds for religious or private schools. No voucher program has ever been endorsed by voters. Just last fall, the voters of Florida decisively rejected a referendum to legalize vouchers.

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