Florida passed legislation to offer vouchers to every student in the state, regardless of their income. Rich and poor are eligible for state largesse. Florida joins five other states with universal vouchers: West Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa and Utah.

The Education Law Center predicted last month that the expansion of vouchers to all students, rich and poor, would cost the state at least $4 billion in the first year. Half of that amount would be a bonanza for students already in private schools.

Perhaps you remember the battle cry for vouchers over the past three decades: “vouchers will save poor children from failing public schools.” We now know that every part of this plea was mistaken. Vouchers do not produce academic gains for the poor children who transfer from public schools to private schools that accept them.

The overwhelming majority of recent, long-term studies report that vouchers have a negative effect on low-income children; most return to their public schools in need of remediation.

In state after state, most vouchers are claimed by students who never attended public schools. 75-80% of voucher recipients were already enrolled in private schools; their families are not poor.

The universal voucher program is a subsidy for the rich, at the expense of public schools.