Amazing Stat: 2 in 3 of Ohio Voucher recipients never attended public school
A bill originally meant to address substitute teacher shortages has turned into a giveaway to wealthy private school parents whose kids were never in public schools.
Ok. My jaw literally dropped when I read this bill analysis of House Bill 583 — a bill originally intended to help alleviate the substitute teacher shortage, but thanks to Ohio Senate Education Chairman Andrew Brenner, is now a giveaway to school privatizers.
Tucked away on page 7 of this analysis, I read this:
… (R)oughly 33% of the new FY 2022 income-based scholarship recipients entering grades 1-12 were students who attended a public school the previous year.
2 of every 3 EdChoice Expansion recipients this year never attended a public school before they received their taxpayer-funded private school tuition subsidy.
If you apply the FY 2022 figures to the total program, which has 20,500 students in it, this would be the chart:
And remember that families up to 400% of poverty qualify. How much is that? For a family of 4, $111,000 qualifies as 400% of poverty That would qualify about 85% of Ohio households for this taxpayer funded private school tuition subsidy.
Oh yeah, the bill also eliminates the prorated voucher for EdChoice Expansion. What’s that mean? Well, until this bill, families between 250% and 400% of poverty would qualify for a subsidy, but at a reduced rate from the $5,500 K-8 voucher or the $7,500 high school voucher.
Not anymore. Under HB 583, those prorations go away. What else goes away? The recipient’s loss of a voucher if their income grows beyond 400%.
Someone could make $100,000 one year, qualify their kids for a full, $5,500 Grade 1 private school tuition subsidy, change jobs, make $200,000 a year or more for the next 11 years and keep the full voucher as long as their kid was in school.
Look, I don’t need to keep repeating this, but I will: In nearly 9 of 10 cases, kids taking a voucher perform worse on state testing than kids in the public schools they leave behind. Not to mention the racial segregation the program exacerbates.
Yet here Ohio lawmakers go and dump another $13 million or more of public money into a program that will undoubtedly subsidize the private school tuitions of wealthy, disproportionately white families whose kids never attended public schools.
And who suffers? That’s right. The 90% of students who don’t take a voucher. Why?
Once again, from the bill analysis comes this additional amazing nugget: For every voucher taken by a private school, an average Ohio school district loses $738 more than the average Ohio voucher.
As if you needed more evidence that vouchers really do hurt kids who don’t take them. Or that vouchers aren’t a case of “money following the child”.
But again, Brenner was clever to dump this stuff into a bill that is really needed to help address our desperate substitute teacher shortage. So legislators are in a tough spot on this vote. It’s not as obvious as the hijacking of House Bill 70, which was originally a bill meant to expand wraparound services and morphed into a draconian state takeover bill that forced the original sponsors to pull their names from it.
This isn’t the Backpack Bill. Yet.
But this is really, really bad. And puts increased importance on the legal effort to overturn the original EdChoice voucher system.
Stay tuned for more on House Bill 583. There’s lots to be concerned about with it. I’ll tackle these issues in turn.
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