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Voucher schemes have robbed children, taxpayers with no real positive results

Mar 3, 2017

Credit Lily Eskelsen García-President, NEA / NEA photo

  Commentary: WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos today visited St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida. Parents, educators and lawmakers held a protest rally with speakers outside the school to shine a light on how voucher schemes fail to give parents any real educational choice and have robbed Florida taxpayers.

The following statement was issued on behalf of NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“A child’s success should not depend on a gamble, and yet today’s visit by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos shows they’re doubling down on failed policies like voucher schemes that steal taxpayer dollars from public schools to fund private and for-profit schools, all at the expense of students. For too long, these schemes have experimented with our children’s education without any evidence of real, lasting positive results. The Trump-DeVos agenda does nothing to provide opportunity to all of our students, and that is evident here in Florida.

“What’s also troubling is that vouchers undermine accountability to parents and taxpayers. Private and for-profit schools that receive taxpayer-funded vouchers have almost complete autonomy on how they operate. They can pick and choose which students they want and which students they’ll turn away. These schools don’t have to follow academic standards, don’t have to hire qualified teachers and don’t have to disclose financial decisions to the public.

“It is time we start doing what we know works by fully supporting neighborhood public schools so that students have a well-rounded curriculum, class sizes small enough for individual attention and support services such as health care, nutrition and after-school programs for students who need them.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.