School Vouchers

Struggle Against Vouchers Continues in Milwaukee and Across Nation

Will vouchers really serve students better?

With the election successes of the Tea Party-dominated Republican party in the November 2010 elections, there has been a renewed push to expand school voucher programs around the country.

In April, Congress reauthorized the voucher program in Washington D.C.  In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker is on the verge of a massive expansion of the voucher program in Milwaukee, already the nation's largest.  The expansion includes removing the student enrollment cap and the low-income requirement, and expanding participation in the program to private schools beyond the city borders.

Rethinking Schools has covered this issue since 1988 and has a large collection of articles and analyses on this topic. Some of those articles are listed below, linked to the full article. For on-going coverage and analysis of the struggle against vouchers and privatization, we encourage you to subscribe to Rethinking Schools print magazine.

Rethinking Schools editors are available for media interviews: email or call 414-964-9646.

Just Say No to Voucher Expansion
By Barbara Miner
The heartbreaking drama currently playing in Milwaukee - millions of dollars cut from the public schools while vouchers are expanded so wealthy families can attend private schools in the suburbs - may be coming soon to a school district near you.

Free-Market Education
By Barbara Miner
There's no guarantee of quality in Milwaukee's voucher schools. A disturbing number of voucher schools are little more than refurbished, cramped storefronts.

Seed Money for Conservatives
By Barbara Miner
Department of Ed funds flow to privatizers and voucher supporters.

Distorting the Civil Rights Legacy
By Barbara Miner
How school-voucher supporters misuse the lessons of segregation to push their agenda.

Vouchers: Special Ed Students Need Not Apply 
By Barbara Miner
Charter and voucher schools are required to do very little to accommodate students with special needs.

The Conservative Connection
By Barbara Miner
Many conservatives oppose affirmative action while supporting school vouchers. Let's take a look at the ideology behind both issues.

Privatizers' Trojan Horse
By Barbara Miner
Corporations and churches cash in on funding opportunities.

Tuition Tax Credits: Vouchers in Disguise
By Barbara Miner
If you think tuition tax credits weren't worrisome, think again. Barbara Miner explains the pitfalls of this scheme, which is growing in popularity across the country.

Voucher Decision Opens Pandora's Box
By Barbara Miner
While the Supreme Court's June 27 decision removed the cloud of federal constitutional doubt, it certainly didn't settle the legal and policy issues swirling around vouchers. One thing is certain, however: The court decision was a serious blow to supporters of public education and a boon to the voucher movement. Barbara Miner analyzes the decision.

Vouchers: Turning Back the Clock
By Barbara Miner
Narrowing the definition of what constitutes "public" education.

Vouchers Schools Cash In
By Erik Gunn
A Rethinking Schools investigative report on how a little-known accounting provision allows Milwaukee voucher schools to reap extra millions of dollars. (view PDF)

Payment "Surcharge" Gives $28 Million Extra to Voucher Schools

Supreme Court Debates Vouchers
By Barbara Miner
Justices hear oral arguments in a case with broad implications not just for education but the separation of church and state and the very definition of public versus private in a democratic society.

The Voucher Threat
By Rethinking Schools
Many public schools in urban areas have such problems that it may be tempting to consider vouchers a legitimate reform. Don't be fooled.

High Court to Decide if Cleveland Voucher Program Violates the Separation of Church and State.
By Micheal Charney, director of Professional Issues with the Cleveland Teachers Union.
A news analysis of the Cleveland program and court case

Church / State Separation Vital to Democracy.
Legal scholar Marvin Frankel summarize the importance of the Constitution's separation clause

Vouchers and the False Promise of Academic Achievement
By Barbara Miner
Conservatives have spinned vouchers as a way to increase achievement for low-income minorities. But the academic case for vouchers rests rests on rhetoric, not reality.

School Vouchers: A Threat to the Rights of Women and Gays
By Barbara Miner
Will a green light for vouchers foster discrimination against gays and lesbians and undermine women's rights? The date for the article is February 2002.

False Choices: Vouchers, Public Schools, and Our Children's Future.
Lessons from Milwaukee.
This 4-page, tabloid-sized report, released by Rethinking Schools in the fall of 2001, highlights key issues within the oldest and largest voucher program in the United States, from problems of accountability to why vouchers won't fix our public schools. Click here for a PDF version of the report.

Who's Bankrolling Vouchers?
The key funders of the pro-voucher movement.

Vouchers, Accoutability, and Money
By Rethinking Schools
A look at three key lessons from Milwaukee. Did you know, for instance, that Milwaukee voucher schools do not have to provide any data on test scores or academic achievement - or even give tests if they don't want to?

With God On Their Side...
Scholar Frances Patterson looks at how textbooks in Christian fundamentalist schools are biased toward an overwhelmingly conservative view on social, political, and religious matters.

Teaching Religious Intolerance
Scholar Frances Patterson shows how Christian fundamentalist textbooks display a breathtakingly arrogant attitude toward other religions.

Vouchers: Church / State Complexities
Journalist Priscilla Pardini looks at the contradictions that arise when public dollars are given to private religious schools.

A Visit to a Religious Elementary School
A close-up look at one religious school in Milwaukee that receives voucher funding, which advocates "integrating faith in Jesus Christ with the content and progress of all learning."

Five Years and Counting: A Closer Look at the Cleveland Voucher Program

Report Looks at Public and Private Schools
A report by the Economic Policy Institute says when policymakers assume private schools are better than public schools, they ignore lessons that could make all schools better.

Vouchers and Public Accountability
Journalist Erik Gunn analyzes how Milwaukee public schools face increasing scrutiny while private voucher schools are allowed to operate with almost no oversight. Why the double standard?

The Hollow Promise of School Vouchers
Educational historian Robert Lowe analyzes the origins and ideology of the voucher movement.

The Market is Not the Answer
An interview with Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities and other books on education.

Lessons of Chile's Voucher Reform
Education scholar Martin Conroy looks at what we can learn from Chile.

The GI Bill Doesn't Vouch for Vouchers
Education historian Robert Lowe explains why analogies between the GI Bill and vouchers might sound good but are wrong.

Selling Out Our Schools: Vouchers, Markets, and the Future of Public Education
A Rethinking Schools special report
For a more in-depth discussion of vouchers, be sure to check out the Rethinking Schools publication "Selling Out Our Schools", which provides articles on vouchers and related issues.

Notable Quotes on Vouchers

Links to other important sites on vouchers.