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Vouchers in the News

Public funding of private school vouchers remains a bitterly contested issue in various states at any given time. This is a collection of published news stories and opinions about this ongoing issue in public education. The collection is updated regularly, so please visit frequently.

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Protect Our Public Schools: No New Charter School

Alameda's great public schools are the foundation of our community. They benefit all of us by upholding the promise of equal opportunity for all, by strengthening our collective bonds, and even by helping property values. Now is not the time to cripple our public schools by gambling with charters, vouchers, or any other quasi-private school plan.

Alameda Sun opinion by Rob  Siltanen
Jan. 4, 2008

Sibley comes out swinging in announcing he filed for Anderson's Legislature seat

Jonathan Sibley lost no time attacking fellow Republican Charles “Doc” Anderson on Tuesday while announcing his campaign to win the Texas Legislature’s District 56 seat.

...In a move separating him from many Republicans who support vouchers that would use public money to cover private school tuition, Sibley attacked Anderson on the issue. He called mandatory school vouchers a "bear in the woods" that threatens the quality of public education and local control over schools.

"I firmly believe that vouchers should not be forced on a school district, and I firmly believe that what may be good for a big city urban school district may not be good in McLennan County and vice versa," he said.

Tribune-Herald article by David Doerr
Dec. 19, 2007

Few using special needs vouchers

Just 5 percent of the state's special education students eligible for private school vouchers are using them this school year, according to a state report.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, there are 199,509 students with disabilities -- ranging from dyslexia to severe learning disabilities -- enrolled in public schools statewide, and just a fraction of them, 899, received vouchers to attend private schools.

The [Macon, GA] Telegraph article by Julie Hubbard
Nov. 28, 2007

Canvassers put voucher vote to bed

Results from the Nov. 6 school vouchers referendum vote were made official Monday: Voters handed the Legislature's proposal to subsidize tuition to private schools a certified drubbing.

About 42 percent of Utah voters turned out for the statewide election that was combined with municipal contests, according to the state Board of Canvassers. Of more than 523,000 votes cast statewide, 325,279 voted against the voucher proposal to 198,205 for it.

Salt Lake Tribune article by Glen Warchol
Nov. 27, 2007

An alternative to vouchers in the works?

The door slammed on private school vouchers last week, but a window apparently cracked open for a sister concept Wednesday.

Leading private school tuition-voucher group Parents for Choice in Education, along with the nonprofit Children First Utah, is working to get the word out about other states that give businesses income-tax credits for donating to private school scholarship groups, executive director Elisa Clements said.

Deseret Morning News article by Jennifer Toomer-Cook and Bob Bernick Jr.
Nov. 15, 2007

Voucher defeat may cost Utah Republicans in '08 polls

Rarely does the Utah Legislature get its comeuppance as it did when voters overwhelmingly defeated state-funded private school vouchers last week.

But the real reckoning may come a year from now, when those who fought for a plan scorned by nearly two-thirds of the state seek re-election.

The public sentiment expressed in the referendum could hardly be more clear, nor could the disconnect between the voters and their elected representatives.

Salt Lake Tribune article by Robert Gehrke
Nov. 14, 2007

Voucher Supporter Says Program As Simple As Oreo Cookies

Can a stack of Oreo cookies really explain the confusion surrounding private school vouchers? Parental rights activist and star of the widely seen pro-voucher commercial Richard Eyre says the cookie stack simplifies the voucher equation.

"You've got your seven and a half cookies. And the most that any voucher student can take of that seven and $7,500 is $3,000. The average would be $2,000. That leaves $5,000 in the public schools and the kid is not there anymore," says Eyre.

KCPW article by Eric Ray
Oct. 31, 2007

Plenty of election spending
Vouchers: Proponents, foes shell out more than $5.5 million total

The two main Utah pro- and anti-voucher groups have together spent more than $5.5 million on their campaigns since Sept. 13.

According to political issue committee financial reports that were due Tuesday, pro-voucher Parents for Choice in Education has outspent Utahns for Public Schools (UTPS), the state's main anti-voucher group, by about $1.36 million in the past month and a half while collecting more than $1.2 million more than UTPS.

Deseret Morning News article by Tiffany Erickson
Oct. 31, 2007

Paul Rolly: Vouchers camp spins news show

First, it was Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. who didn't know his comments at a pro-voucher news conference would be turned into a political ad urging voters to approve Referendum 1, prompting him to say he did not want to become a poster boy for vouchers. 

Now, it is KSL's turn to take umbrage at the voucher advocates' attempts to turn the media giant into a pro-voucher toady.

Salt Lake Tribune opinion by Paul Rolly
Oct. 31, 2007

KSL News Report Causing Stir in Voucher Debate

KSL Television is taking issue with a flyer that the company says implies Eyewitness News produced, or helped to produce, the pro-voucher ad.

The flyers center around a story aired in mid-October, aimed at putting some claims in the voucher debate to the "Truth Test."

ksl.com article by Marc Giauque and Tom Callan
Oct. 31, 2007

The Chronicle's View: Referendum 1 would hurt Utah's public schools

...It is a shame that the education of those who are supposed to lead our country in the future is of such little value that Utah legislators are willing to evade actually fixing the problem with increased funding and put in its place a voucher system that will prove to be more destructive than the system currently in place.

Utahns need to open their eyes to what might happen to our public school system. It isn't as pretty as some would have you think.

The Daily Utah Chronicle editorial
Oct. 24, 2007

Voucher issue heats up in latest debate

Despite polls showing Utah's education voucher program is unlikely to pass a referendum in two weeks, the debate over the issue continued to sizzle Tuesday night at the University of Utah law school.

Backers branded those opposing vouchers for private schools "bigots," and accused them of spreading lies.

The opponents countered that the program, which offers vouchers of $500 to $3,000 depending on income, would be a subsidy for the wealthy and unconstitutionally pump tax money into private and religious schools.

Salt Lake Tribune article by Glen Warchol
Oct. 24, 2007

Paul Rolly: Bramble flubs figures on vouchers

For a certified public accountant, Senate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble needs to brush up on his math.

 Bramble had an opinion piece in the Provo Daily Herald on Saturday that argued that voters should approve private school vouchers. He noted that from 1995 to 2005, Utah's public school enrollment increased by 34,423 students. He said that between 2005 and 2015, the projected growth will be 154,752 students, "a staggering 450 percent increase."

...If there were a 450 percent increase in the student population by 2015, we would have 3 million student-age children. That's about a half-million more than Utah's entire population. To reach that figure, every woman in Utah of child-bearing age would have to have six more children.

Salt Lake Tribune opinion by Paul Rolly
Oct. 24, 2007