Russ Walsh, literacy expert, describes the Three are of vouchers: They are for the Rich, the Racists, and the Religious Right.

Russ writes:

“Our new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is rich, white, and a proselytizing supporter of the Christian religious right. DeVos is also an outspoken champion of school vouchers. These two things are not coincidences. While voucher proponents will tell you, and some may even believe, that their push for vouchers is a push to make sure all children have the opportunity to get a great education, the real benefactors of school vouchers are the rich, the white and the religious right….

DeVos claims that voucher opponents are foes of change and champions of the status quo. I hope to show that it is the voucher schemes and the DeVos’ of the world who are championing the status quo – the status quo where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer as we see happening in this country right now.

“What are the problems with vouchers? Do vouchers achieve the supposed goal of improving educational opportunity for low-income and minority children? Many have cataloged the issues, but here is a quick list with some links for further reading.

*Vouchers do not improve student academic performance

*Vouchers do not improve opportunities for low-income children

*Vouchers lead to private schools of questionable quality

*Voucher divert public money to unaccountable private institutions

*Vouchers undermine religious liberty

*Vouchers do further harm to already struggling public schools

*Vouchers enable discrimination and segregation

So why the push for vouchers? Because vouchers are very good for the rich. If the rich can sell vouchers as the cure for educational inequality, they may be able to get people to ignore the real reason for public education struggles – income inequity. If the rich really want to improve schools, they need to put their money on the line. If the rich are really interested in helping poor school children they need to invest – through higher taxes (or maybe just by paying their fair share of taxes), not unreliable philanthropy, in improved health care, child care, parental education, pre-school education, public school infrastructure and on and on. This will be expensive, but we can do it if the wealthy would show the same dedication to the “civil rights issue of our time” with their wallets as they show to harebrained schemes like vouchers.”