Archives for category: Vouchers

The West Virginia legislature is rushing–like other red states–to pass voucher legislation. They know that very few students will apply for vouchers but that the cost will be enormous. West Virginia Republicans want to have the most expansive voucher bill in the nation (they are competing with New Hampshire and Arizona to supply everyone with the chance to use public money to attend a private or religious school).

However, the House Republicans decided to slow down when they saw how much their proposal would cost. And, they also noted that students can get a voucher not to “escape failing public schools,” but to pay for the religious school they already attend. In other words, the “voucher program” would be simply a subsidy to the 25,000 students already in private/religious schools and in home school. And it would cost $112 million a year to subsidize students whose parents are currently paying for them. And this money would be diverted from the state’s public schools, which enroll the vast majority of students.

Ryan Quinn of the Charleston Gazette-Mail writes:

After passing what could be the nation’s least-restrictive nonpublic school vouchers bill Thursday — one that would give every family in West Virginia money to private- and home-school their children if they want to remove them from public schools — the West Virginia House of Delegates recalled the bill.

On Friday, in a voice vote with no dissent heard, the Republican-controlled House recanted its passage vote of the day before. Delegates then sent the legislation (House Bill 2013) back to the House Finance Committee.

The West Virginia Senate had yet to pass the bill. House leadership indicated that it plans to fix issues with the bill and pass it again.

House Finance Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, said the reason for the move was a fiscal note he saw Thursday night.

“That’s why I decided to let people know what I discovered, what I read,” he said. “And now we’ve also asked [the Department of] Education to prepare a fiscal note, too. So, just trying to do the right thing, cover our bases, make sure everything is right.”

However, the state Division of Regulatory and Fiscal Affairs said the note was posted on the Legislature’s website on or before 11 a.m. Wednesday — so lawmakers could have seen it before voting Thursday.

Fiscal notes estimate how much bills will cost, but Republicans had rushed this bill to passage by just the end of the second week of this year’s legislative session.

The problem Householder cited is connected to the fact that the bill doesn’t specify how long parents must have their students enrolled in public schools to be eligible to receive the estimated $4,600 per-student, per-year to withdraw them and start private- or home-schooling.

“Based on our interpretation of the eligibility criteria, a parent of a student currently in private- or home-schooling could enroll their child in a summer public school program, making them eligible to apply for the Hope Scholarship Program,” the fiscal note said, referring to another name for the bill. “Alternatively, they could enroll their child in the public school system to become eligible. As this would introduce new students into the eligible population, it has the potential to substantially increase costs.”

The voucher for that amount is required to go to educational expenses, although that term is very broad in the bill.

Lawmakers had allowed for this cost increase by making the bill ultimately pay the $4,600 per-student, per-year for families who were currently home-schooling or private-schooling anyway. But they had added a provision saying those payments wouldn’t happen until fiscal year 2026-27 — the fiscal note said such costs could arrive much earlier.

“Based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics, there have been an average of 14,285 private-school students in West Virginia from 2003 to 2017, with no clear increase or decrease over time,” the fiscal note says. “For home-schooled students, we estimate approximately 10,000.

“Assuming current private- and home-school enrollment is similar, and assuming all of these students use one of these methods for becoming eligible for the Hope Scholarship, this could increase the cost of the program to the state by $112,300,882.65 per fiscal year, again assuming no increase in statewide average net state aid allotted per pupil.”

The note points out another potential problem with the likely unprecedented scope of the voucher program. Householder didn’t mention this issue, which is more fundamental to the bill.

The note said its participation estimates of 1% to 3% of current public school students that it used for calculating costs, even if the other problem were fixed, are based on the five states that have this kind of voucher program.

As a result of strong opposition, Republicans who control the New Hampshire legislature decided to postpone consideration of their “number one priority,” school vouchers. Under consideration was the most sweeping voucher bill in the nation. Thousands of people signed up to testify against the legislation.

A bill to create a school voucher-like system in New Hampshire is poised to be kicked to 2022, after Republicans on the House Education Committee said that it needed more time.

In a 20-0 vote Thursday, the committee recommended that the bill be retained, a move that if approved by the full House next week would put off any decision-making until next year’s session.

House Bill 20, named the “Richard ‘Dick’ Hinch education freedom account program” after the late House speaker, was a top priority for House Republicans this year. The proposal would allow parents to withdraw their children from public school and take the per-pupil state money with them.

Under the bill, that state funding, which amounts to $3,700 to $8,000 per student depending on the school, could then be used by the parents for a number of alternative expenses, such as private school tuition, college preparatory courses, school supplies, or transportation.

But a deluge of opposition to the bill from public school advocates and Democrats had slowed down its progress, resulting in contentious hearings and deliberative sessions that stretched through the day. Opponents argue the bill would drain resources from public schools and prompt cutbacks and increased property taxes; proponents say that it would provide new opportunities to families whose public schools aren’t working for their children.

Despite numerous tweaks and amendments, the bill didn’t have the votes to pass out of the GOP-controlled committee.

It is unclear if the committee would have had the votes to pass the bill even if the amendments were drafted correctly. Last week, NHJournal reported James Allard (R-Pittsfield) was likely to vote against the measure.

House insiders tell NHJournal that had a vote on the bill been held, the best-case scenario would have been a 10-10 tie vote in the committee, sending the bill to the floor with no recommendation. That would have set up a heated floor battle.

Attempts to sway Allard and other concerned Republicans included adding income-caps to the EFA eligibility formula. The cap would limit participation to those earning less than 375 percent of the federal poverty limit — roughly $99,000 for a family of four. That proposed income-cap would cut the number of eligible students in half.

Democrats on the Education Committee were pleased with the outcome.”HB 20 contains no protection for students against discrimination, little oversight, and is ripe for fraud…and would act as a tax-dollar giveaway to wealthy families. There has never been as much vocal opposition to a piece of legislation in NH,” Democrat leader on the committee Mel Myler said in a press release Thursday morning.

There’s still an Education Freedom Account bill in the Senate, giving supporters hope the legislation can still be amended and passed this year. In 2017-2018, the Senate passed SB193 – an education savings account program. That bill died in the House, after being heavily amended. The Senate then scrapped a separate bill and reintroduced SB193, the original version. Again, the proposal failed in the House.Democrats and teachers unions argued EFAs would increase property taxes, defund local district schools, and wreak havoc on New Hampshire’s education system. They celebrated Thursday’s win.

It has been well documented that students who leave public schools for voucher schools lose ground academically. Vouchers will not only hurt the state’s poorly funded public schools, it will hurt the children who use vouchers. It is a lose-lose for everyone except the religious schools that win public funds.

Civil rights groups, led by the Southern Education Foundation, are opposing the voucher legislation proposed by Republicans in Georgia.

SEF leads opposition to education savings account bill introduced in Georgia legislature

One of the first pieces of legislation introduced in the Georgia legislature in 2021 was the Georgia Educational Scholarship Act (HB60), a bill that would divert taxpayer dollars to private schools. In February, SEF and nine other education and equity-focused organizations sent a letter to the Georgia House Committee on Education expressing concerns that HB60 would divert funds from public education at a time when schools can least afford to lose it, and further perpetuate inequities.

SEF prepared analysis of the bill and a backgrounder on academic outcomes and participation requirements for similar tax credit scholarship programs across the country.

SEF’s Legislative and Research Analyst also provided testimony to the Senate Education and Youth Committee on SB47, a proposed expansion of the state’s existing special needs voucher program.

The Education Law Center has developed an excellent presentation on the shortchanging of public education in the years since 20008. The great majority of states did not keep up with the costs of educating their children. Only a handful did: Wyoming, Alaska, Illinois, Connecticut. The rest saw a sharp drop in their effort to fund the education of their children.

The two absolutely worst states, as judged by their failed effort to fund their schools, were Arizona and Florida, followed by Michigan. It is not coincidence that these are states that have put their efforts into choice, as a substitute for funding.

The report from ELC begins:

In the decade following the Great Recession, students across the U.S. lost nearly $600 billion from the states’ disinvestment in their public schools. Data from 2008-2018 show that, if states had simply maintained their fiscal effort in PK-12 education at pre-Recession levels, public schools would have had over half a trillion dollars more in state and local revenue to provide teachers, support staff and other resources essential for student achievement. Further, that lost revenue could have significantly improved opportunity and outcomes for students, especially in the nation’s poorest districts.

The states dramatically reduced their investment in public education in response to the 2007 Great Recession. Yet as economies rebounded, states failed to restore those investments. As our analysis shows, while states’ economic activity — measured as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — recovered, state and local revenues for public schools lagged far behind in many states.

This “lost decade” of state disinvestment has put public schools in an extremely vulnerable position as the nation confronts the coronavirus pandemic. Once again, state budgets are strained by declining revenues. And once again, school districts across the country are bracing for state aid cuts and the potential for reduced local support.

This report builds on our Making the Grade analysis of the condition of public school funding in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Instead of a one-year snapshot, this report provides a longitudinal analysis of the effort made by states from 2008 to 2018 to fund their public education systems. We measure that effort using an index that calculates elementary and secondary education revenue as a percentage of each state’s economic activity or GDP.

A key goal of this report is to give advocates data and information to use in their efforts to press governors and state legislatures not to make another round of devastating “pandemic cuts” to already underfunded public schools.

Open the report to see where YOUR state ranks in its effort to educate its students.

Arizona and Florida are the two most shameful states in their neglect of the future of their children.

Jim Swanson and John Graham, both CEOs in Arizona, wrote a stern warning against the legislature’s proposed voucher expansion, which would make almost all students in the state eligible for public funding to spend in a private or religious school. One of the authors is on the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. Arizona is a state that likes low taxes; it does not fund its public schools adequately or equitably. Under the leadership of Governor Doug Ducey (who promised the Koch brothers a few years ago that he would drive taxes down as low as he could), the state is offering choice instead of adequate funding to its schools. Arizona has consistently underfunded its public schools and pretends to “reform” them by offering charters and vouchers.

They wrote:

The current, aggressive push to expand Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) does nothing to address the systemic education challenges we face in Arizona.

It is a dangerous attack on our public education systems and our state’s economic future. As a business community, our priority is to ensure that all students have access to a top-quality school that meets students’ needs and interests.

Arizona leaders should focus on effectively funding public education and supporting innovative programs that improve academic outcomes.

The time is now. Public education is the single most powerful economic development tool we have as a state.

ESAs were originally designed to serve a small population of students – they were never meant to replace public education or to serve all students.

A full expansion of ESAs is nothing more than a boutique scheme to address a non-existent need for private school subsidies.

While being marketed as a solution for low-income students and students of color – the students whom data tells us need the most wide-scale, institutional support – SB1452 is the most offensive of the private school voucher bills proposed this session. The bill would make roughly 700,000 Arizona students eligible for ESAs – a 280% increase in a single move. This is nothing more than a bold attempt to privatize education.

There’s a lot wrong with this bill, but the worst is the fact that rather than focus on supporting low-income students of color, many of whom are already eligible, SB1452 will make many more middle- and high-income white students eligible for taxpayer-subsidized vouchers, exploiting the impoverished communities in favor of further subsidizing the tiny fraction (as few as approximately 5%) of Arizona families choosing to home-school, private and parochial schools.

Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance, representing more than 200 CEOs across Arizona, have made it clear that they are against the expansion of vouchers in Arizona and have voiced support for our public education systems, from early childhood to higher education. Business leaders and voters are like-minded – we have consistently come together for public education with a focus on equity and access. Instead of proposing unsustainable ways to make 70% of students eligible for private school vouchers, we need to make the public schools better, stronger and more successful.

What our state needs is crystal clear – an equitable, fully funded, high-quality public education system that serves all students across Arizona, no matter the zip code or income level. We have fallen too far behind and the only way we catch up – the only way we move the needle and bring Arizona to a competitive, robust and morally conscionable state – is to focus on the public education funding formula. Programs like private school vouchers have a long history of excluding and segregating our communities rather than including and supporting them. ESAs don’t get us where we need to be.

We need to put our heads together – across the business, education and political realms – and finally execute big changes to the funding formula and other mechanisms that have proven inefficient and worse, inequitable. Now is the time to focus on what moves all our students forward – working together to properly fund the schools serving 95% of Arizona students.

Question: Will the legislature listen to Arizona business leaders or to Charles Koch and Betsy DeVos?

Two years ago, the voters of Arizona overwhelmingly rejected an expansion of vouchers, by 65% to 35%. The pro-voucher side was funded by Charles Koch, Betsy DeVos, and other enemies of public schools. The voters said a resounding NO to voucher expansion!

Yet, this week the Arizona Legislature passed legislation to expand vouchers, approving what the voters rejected. Apparently, the word “democracy” is not in the Republican legislators’ dictionary. The voters expressed their will in no uncertain terms. The legislators ignored them.

The Arizona Senate approved a massive expansion of Arizona’s school voucher program Monday, just two years after voters decisively repealed a similar expansion of school vouchers to all students. 

The Senate passed the bill on a 16-14 party-line vote, with all 16 Republicans voting for the measure. It will now be sent to the House of Representatives. 

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts allow parents eligible to take funds from public schools and spend them on private school. The bill would expand the program, which currently serves only 9,700 students, making it available to an exponentially larger group. 

Bill sponsors contend the voucher expansion will benefit only low-income students from so-called Title I schools, which receive funding for disadvantaged students to close educational gaps.

But SB 1452 would also allow any student who lives in the boundary of a Title I school to be eligible for an empowerment scholarship account. The students would merely have to attend the school and would not need to be low-income themselves to qualify. 

More than 1,300 of the 2,000 district schools in Arizona — about 65% — are Title I schools, and even wealthy districts include some Title I schools.

Another account adds this:

The proposal from Glendale Republican Sen. Paul Boyer, SB1452, would make all children attending schools with a high percentage of low-income families or who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches eligible for the state’s voucher program. The program allows parents to take state funding and pay for religious or other private education and education costs. 

If the Republican-controlled House also approves the measure and it is signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, a school choice supporter, about 800,000 of Arizona’s 1.1 million K-12 students would qualify to use state money to attend private schools, up from about 256,000 currently. Despite the current eligibility, only about 9,700 children currently use state vouchers to pay for private or home schooling costs.

So, of the 256,000 students eligible for vouchers, only 9,700 use them. That’s less than 4% who want vouchers.

Dare I mention yet again that there is a sizable body of evidence showing that kids who leave public schools to use vouchers are set back in their academic achievement?

Three former state superintendents of education in Indiana wrote a joint letter opposing the Republican plan to expand vouchers.

Jennifer McCormick, Glenda Ritz and Suellen Reed Goddard released a letter criticizing the proposals for diverting funding away from traditional public school students.

House Bill 1005 seeks to expand the eligibility of who can receive a school voucher and would create the “education scholarship program” to allow some families funding for education services outside of public school.

The House is expected to take up the bill for final vote Tuesday.

Reed Goddard took part in a virtual event Monday with the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, a non-profit organization that opposes legislation to fund private school vouchers. Goddard urged people to call their elected officials to oppose the House bill and other legislation. 

“Now is not the time to divert any of our funding from public education where about 94% of our students are educated,” she said. “We are in the throes of a pandemic which challenges technology, teaching techniques, students and parents support and workforce issues.”

Goddard and others fear Gov. Eric Holcomb’s modest increase for K-12 funding in his two-year budget proposal will be erased by legislation expanded choice options if they become law.

Here is the text of the letter signed by the three former state chiefs:

An Opposition Letter from Public School Supporters
to Members of the Indiana General Assembly and Governor Holcomb

In support of the 94% of Indiana students who attend public schools, we strongly oppose House Bill 1005, Senate Bill 412 and Senate Bill 413. Education Scholarship Accounts will divert adequate and equitable funding away from public school students and open the door to unacceptable practices. Hoosiers all lose when children are not well educated and public tax dollars are not accounted for responsibly. 

In Indiana communities, public schools have been and will continue to be the hub for vital services supporting the well-being of the whole child. Passing HB 1005, SB 412 or SB 413 would divert significant monies away from public schools, enhance the opportunity for a lack of oversight related to the intended educational purpose of such funds, further exacerbate insufficiencies tied to Indiana’s teacher compensation, and increase the risk to student growth, proficiency, and well-being. 

Indiana’s most vulnerable youth and families deserve a per-pupil funding level that promotes adequate and equitable funding. Unfortunately, the language of HB 1005 gives advantages to families with high incomes and adds disadvantages for our most vulnerable by shifting risks. HB 1005, if passed, will defeat the spirit of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act and run counter to the initial rhetoric behind Indiana’s school choice.

Even with the amendment, HB 1005 would result in 94% of Indiana’s students receiving less than the tuition support increase of $377 million over two years that Gov. Holcomb’s proposed. Teacher compensation, support staff pay, COVID-19 academic and operational-related costs, student support service demands, constantly changing graduation and accountability requirements, and K-12 workforce development efforts certainly deserve the funding necessary to serve Hoosier students. 

We firmly oppose HB 1005, SB 412 and SB 413. We firmly support the adequate and equitable funding of our Indiana’s public schools representing 94% of Hoosier students and families. 

Dr. Suellen Reed Goddard
1993-2009 Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction

Glenda Ritz
2013-2017 Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction

Dr. Jennifer McCormick
2018-2021 Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

The following organizations support this letter:

Indiana Coalition for Public Education
AFT Indiana
Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts (IACTED)
Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE)
Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents
Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE)
Indiana Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association
Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA)
Indiana Urban Schools Association

Can anyone explain why the Republicans in the legislature want to harm the public schools that enroll 94% of the children of the state? Did the Republicans familiarize themselves with the research on vouchers, which consistently finds a “significantly negative effect” on academic achievement for students who leave public schools for voucher schools? Why do they want to undermine the quality of their state’s public schools?

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette demonstrated what an absurdity the Indiana voucher program is and why it should not be expanded. Research increasingly shows the negative effects of vouchers on students (see here and here).

Its editorial explained:

Fort Wayne has a parks system, supported primarily by property taxes. Most residents appreciate the parks, whether they use them or not, recognizing the benefits they afford the entire community. There are property owners, however, who don’t use the parks and spend their own money to pay for health club memberships or country club dues.

Now, imagine some of those property owners decide the share of tax dollars they spend for city parks should instead be returned to them as a “park voucher,” available for the members-only clubs they prefer. Without an increase in the tax rate, the amount of money available for city parks would shrink.

That’s the essence of Indiana’s school voucher program, which shifts tax dollars from a public good to a private commodity under the clever name of “Choice Scholarships.” With a voucher framework firmly in place and many Indiana voters convinced “school choice” is a sacred right, the General Assembly’s Republican supermajority is prepared to make its most audacious push yet to expand the program to wealthy Hoosiers.

House Bill 1005, with an estimated cost of $202 million over the next two years alone, will be heard in the House Education Committee at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The proposed bill expands the $172 million a year voucher program to allow a family of four earning as much as $145,000 a year to qualify for vouchers. Median household income in Indiana is about $60,000 a year.

Open the link and read the rest of the editorial.

Multiple studies show that students who leave public schools to enroll in voucher schools fall behind academically. Why do Indiana Republicans want to defund their public schools?

West Virginia was the first site of the Red for Ed teachers’ movement. The teachers of the state captured national attention for their statewide strike. Their strike included a number of issues, not only salaries and health care, but also charter schools. Teachers correctly saw them as a means of diverting funding from public schools. They wanted well-resourced public schools. But given the GOP dominance of the legislature, the charter supporters demanded charter legislation, and the best the teachers could was to limit their number.

Now, in the middle of the pandemic, the GOP is coming back with both charter and voucher legislation. The bills are advancing rapidly and teachers can’t mass their numbers in the Capitol due to restrictions on access.

CHARLESTON — Bills on schedule to pass the state House of Delegates this week would allow faster charter school expansion, promote online charter schools and give parents public money for non-public schooling.

It’s just the second week of the legislative session.

Fresh off their first statewide strike a year earlier, public school workers in 2019 shut down classrooms again to oppose an omnibus education bill that, among many other things, would’ve legalized charter schools and vouchers to provide public money for private- and home-schooling.

The effort staved off vouchers and limited charter schools to no more than three until July 1, 2023. County boards of education also were generally given veto power over charters.

This time, facing a Republican governor paired with Republican supermajorities in both legislative chambers, state public school worker unions are taking a more cautious approach.

“Maybe fight is not the best word, but to support our stand,” said Fred Albert, president of the state branch of the American Federation of Teachers, “and we’ve said this a million times: Elections have consequences. And we’ve always been about trying to elect friends of public education and people who support public education … [W]e know it’s going to be an uphill battle…”

Time to stop the bills appeared to be running out three days into the session. Perhaps it ran out in November.

By just Day Two of the session, House Republicans had already advanced charter school and voucher bills from the House Education Committee, which has been the graveyard of previous union-opposed legislation. The House Finance Committee passed the vouchers bill Saturday.

If the full House passes the bills, they head to the Senate, where there has historically been even more support for such legislation. A simple majority can override a gubernatorial veto...

Other factors could be affecting workers’ ability to combat the legislation. Many have borne personal tolls from the pandemic.

“People are dying,” White said. He said he confirmed Thursday five of his union members had died.

“I think people are feeling overwhelmed with the pandemic,” Albert said. “There’s a lot of fear out there for their own health and safety and for their children and classrooms.”

Teachers and others also have waged wearying battles over mandated returns to classrooms.

“I think people are exhausted from the fights over school reopening,” said Jay O’Neal, a teacher at West Side Middle who helped galvanize the 2018 and 2019 strikes.

A perfect time to sabotage public schools and their teachers, when everyone is 3xhausted.




SB 48 Will Be Heard at 3:30 p.m. on 2/17/21 in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education Your Voice is Needed!
What you can do . . .
1) Make calls and/or send emails – We are urging all those connected to Pastors for Florida Children to contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and encourage them to vote “NO” on this bill! We are hoping to flood their offices with calls/emails up until the committee discussion on SB 48 at 3:30 p.m. on 2/17. If you live within the districts of any of the Senators on the subcommittee, be sure to indicate that in your call/email. Ask your family members, friends and colleagues to contact them as well. Below is some more information as well as talking points about the bill: 
SB 48 is moving through the legislative process and will divert more tax dollars away from public schools and further remove public oversight, transparency and accountability. If passed, SB 48 would expand eligibility for school-voucher programs, consolidate existing choice programs and allow parents to use taxpayer-backed education savings accounts for private schools and other costs.
Private schools that take state scholarships also do not have to meet state standards for teacher qualifications, facilities, curriculum or finances. Also, within the last calendar year, evidence has been presented that private schools that accept state money are currently able to discriminate against some of the state’s students without any repercussions.
SB 48 will outsource the oversight of Florida’s $1 billion voucher program to private organizations that will profit from the program expansion. There is no local oversight from elected officials and private organization audits are also reduced from annually to every three years.
The almost 3 million schoolchildren in Florida deserve better! Every child in Florida deserves to have access to a high quality education as is mandated by the Florida Constitution. 
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education Members and Contact Information:Chair Doug Broxson (R)broxson.doug@flsenate.gov850-487-5001@DougBroxson
Vice Chair Manny Diaz (R) — *Bill Sponsordiaz.manny@flsenate.gov850-487-5036@SenMannyDiazJr
Sen. Janet Cruz (D)cruz.janet@flsenate.gov850-487-5018@SenJanetCruz
Sen. Audrey Gibson (D)gibson.audrey@flsenate.gov850-487-5006@SenAudrey2eet
Sen. Joe Gruters (R)gruters.joe@flsenate.gov850-487-5023@JoeGruters
Sen. Travis Hutson (R)hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov850-487-5007@TravisJHutson
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R)passidomo.kathleen@flsenate.gov850-487-5028@Kathleen4SWFL
Sen. Tina Polsky (D)polsky.tina@flsenate.gov850-487-5029@TinaPolsky
Sen. Tom Wright (R)wright.tom.web@flsenate.gov850-487-5014@SenTomWright
2) Get Educated – The League of Women Voters of Florida hosted a Lunch & Learn program dedicated solely to the detriments that this legislation will cause, featuring Rev. Rachel Gunter Shapard, one of the co-founders of Pastors for Florida Children. If you would like to view it to learn more about SB 48 click here. If you were not able to attend the webinar hosted by Public Funds Public Schools entitled “Fighting Voucher Legislation in 2021: An Update on State Voucher Bills and Tools to Oppose Them,” you can view the recording here. The webinar featured representatives of Public Funds Public Schools (PFPS), the Network for Public Education (NPE), and the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE). It is worth your time!
3) Write an Op-Ed – if you are a writer, we need you! It is imperative that we tell the other side of the story. Privatizers are bringing in parents and students who have benefited from vouchers to testify before legislative committees, but the problem is that private school students only represent 10% of the school-age population in Florida. We need to help amplify the stories of students who attended voucher schools and due to a negative experience had to return to public schools, or of public schools that are in underfunded that are doing incredible work, but need more resources to make a truly transformative impact. Contact us if you would like to write an Op-Ed. 
4) Make a connection – If you know of students who have utilized a voucher “scholarship” who had a negative experience and had to return to a public school, please connect us to them! Now more than ever it is imperative to share the other side of the story. 
Sincerely,
Rev. James T. GoldenChair, Social Action Committee,Florida African Methodist Episcopal Church
Rev. Joyce Lieberman Executive/Stated Clerk,Synod of South Atlantic – Presbyterian Church (USA)
Rev. Rachel Gunter ShapardRegional Vice President, Together for Hope – Black BeltContact us:pastorsforflchildren@gmail.com ‌  ‌
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Charles Foster Johnson, Pastor, Bread Fellowship of Fort WorthExecutive Director, Pastors for Texas ChildrenP.O. Box 471155Fort Worth, TX 76147
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www.pastorsfortexaschildren.comwww.charlesfosterjohnson.com