Stephen Dyer, former Ohio legislator, keeps tabs on the cost and quality of school choice. The cost is higher than anyone anticipated, and the quality is far below public schools.

In this post, he describes how surprised he was to learn that 2 of every 3 students who apply for a voucher never attended a public school. Remember how voucher promoters said that vouchers would allow “poor kids to escape failing public schools”? Well, you can’t escape a failing public school if you never attended one.

The voucher program is a straight-up subsidy for parents of students in private schools.

Ok. My jaw literally dropped when I read this bill analysis of House Bill 583 — a bill originally intended to help alleviate the substitute teacher shortage, but thanks to Ohio Senate Education Chairman Andrew Brenner, is now a giveaway to school privatizers.

Tucked away on page 7 of this analysis, I read this:

… (R)oughly 33% of the new FY 2022 income-based scholarship recipients entering grades 1-12 were students who attended a public school the previous year.

That’s right. 

2 of every 3 EdChoice Expansion recipients this year never attended a public school before they received their taxpayer-funded private school tuition subsidy...

And remember that families up to 400% of poverty qualify. How much is that? For a family of 4, $111,000 qualifies as 400% of poverty That would qualify about 85% of Ohio households for this taxpayer funded private school tuition subsidy.

Oh yeah, the bill also eliminates the prorated voucher for EdChoice Expansion. What’s that mean? Well, until this bill, families between 250% and 400% of poverty would qualify for a subsidy, but at a reduced rate from the $5,500 K-8 voucher or the $7,500 high school voucher.

Not anymore. Under HB 583, those prorations go away. What else goes away? The recipient’s loss of a voucher if their income grows beyond 400%. 

That’s right. 

Someone could make $100,000 one year, qualify their kids for a full, $5,500 Grade 1 private school tuition subsidy, change jobs, make $200,000 a year or more for the next 11 years and keep the full voucher as long as their kid was in school.

Look, I don’t need to keep repeating this, but I will: In nearly 9 of 10 cases, kids taking a voucher perform worse on state testing than kids in the public schools they leave behind. Not to mention the racial segregation the program exacerbates.