Phyllis Bush is a retired educator and a member of the board of the Network for Public Education who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

She writes here about the hidden cost of vouchers, which are a gift of public dollars to private schools with no accountability.

Here is an excerpt:

Vouchers drain state tax dollars from the entire education funding pot. This often causes district budgeting deficits and/or the need for tax increases, referendums and the like. That loss of revenue to public schools increases class sizes and diminishes student resources such as counselors, support personnel, supplemental materials and buses.

From the vantage point of a traditional public school supporter, vouchers are a gift of taxpayer funds given to private schools without any accountability. Additionally, the expansion of choice is creating two separate school systems. In this parallel system, one pathway will be for those who can afford quality choices. The other pathway will be to an underfunded, separate-but-unequal road, marked by poverty and by zip codes. As most people know, public schools are required to accept all students while “choice schools” have the option of choosing the students who fit their agenda. Choice schools are allowed to reject students with behavior issues, students with low scores, students with disabilities, and students who don’t speak English.

The probable result of this further expansion of choice schools will be that the children with the most difficulties will be housed in the least well-financed schools. Sadly, many legislators have chosen to be willfully unaware of the consequences of “school choice.”

While the reformers and the takeover artists and the hedge fund managers talk and talk and talk about the miraculous results of school choice, research shows that these results are uneven at best. As thoughtful citizens and taxpayers, wouldn’t it be prudent if we asked ourselves what is best for our traditional public schools, our communities and our kids?

Perhaps the fundamental question is what does society stand to lose in the name of “school choice?” Whose choice is it, anyway?”