Private schools vouchers could destroy public schools

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2005

To the editor,

President George Bush’s plan to use vouchers to improve the quality of education in America’s schools has not received widespread acceptance.

Americans have come to realize that vouchers do not help poor families and many minorities do not want them.

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Initially, it was believed that the low income would openly accept vouchers and opt to attend private and religious schools.

Inner cities private and religious schools have more readily accepted vouchers than ones located in the South.

Many private and religious schools have rejected vouchers because of government regulations that come with receiving federal funds.

Private and Christian school officials have expressed concerns that vouchers would lead to increased government control of private education.

A U. S. Department of Education survey of private schools found that:

* Two-thirds said they would refuse vouchers if they had to accept students randomly.

* Over half would refuse vouchers if they had to administer the same tests that public schools do.

* Three-quarters would refuse to accept special-needs students or English-language learners as voucher students.

Academic accountability for voucher schools has been minimal.

Research indicates that in order to continue to participate in the voucher program, private schools must meet standards.

But, the standards are low compared to public schools.

Standardized tests and vouchers are tools to destroy public schools.

Neither one is wholeheartedly embraced by private and religious schools.

Gerald Shirley