The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

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The Issue with School Vouchers

Graphic+By%3A+Raina+Bursnukul
Graphic By: Raina Bursnukul

During the 2023 legislative session, the Texas legislature will take up the issue of vouchers for private schooling. Vouchers are checks given to citizens by the state to send their kids to private schooling institutions; many supporters have recently pushed for a voucher program in Texas.

Vouchers will hurt public schools and are not a solution for any current educational issues. So, when the legislature tackles this issue, our representatives and the rest of the members of the legislature must reject vouchers.

Private school vouchers, or education savings accounts by proponents, fund schools that are unaccountable to the people of Texas. These private schools do not have to follow the same rules as public schools and voters have no say when it comes to private schools as they are not required to have publicly elected boards to oversee them. Private schools also remain exempt from state accountability, testing requirements, special education laws as well as teacher certification requirements. Private schools are not true, healthy competition to public schools and do not have to accept all students who want to come through their doors. Therefore, due to the fact that private schools cannot account for the taxpayer, our legislators must not allow vouchers to take public tax dollars and squander them on private schools.

Vouchers do not only go to schools that can not account to the taxpayer, but they do not benefit the educational success of our students or help poorer kids go to private schools. First of all, voucher programs consistently fund wealthier families whose children already attend private schools. According to the National Coalition for Public Education, 80 percent of students who used vouchers in Arizona already attended private schools, in New Hampshire this number hits 89 percent and in Wisconsin 75 percent. Furthermore, those who use vouchers do not achieve huge educational success as proponents would like to argue.
The Brookings Institute writes “Four recent rigorous studies—in the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Indiana, and Ohio—used different research designs and reached the same result: on average, students that use vouchers to attend private schools do less well on tests than similar students that do not attend private schools.” The academic achievement of students in these private schools compares poorly to those in public schools. So, these tax dollars spent on vouchers go to schools that do not increase the educational achievement of our students as demonstrated through the study cited.

Supporters of vouchers for private schools will argue taxpayers should get to use their tax dollars on any school they choose to send their child to. However, in the state of Texas, the average taxpayer does not pay enough in taxes to cover the educational cost of one student. The average household only pays about $4,000 in total property taxes a year, but Texas spends about $12,000 per student. In reality, to pay for one student, taxpayers would need to combine their tax dollars and their neighbor’s tax dollars to fund their voucher; meaning proponents of vouchers would not only use their tax dollars, but their neighbor’s tax dollars to send their kids to schools their neighbors may not approve of.

Considering the fact that private schools cannot account to taxpayers, that vouchers subsidize rich kids and that families using vouchers would use their neighbor’s tax dollars for their vouchers, our representatives and the state legislature as a whole have a duty to reject a voucher program if brought up this legislative session.

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About the Contributor
Aidan Anderson, Writer
Hello, I'm Aidan. This is my second year on staff, and I write mostly on current events in America and the world. Outside of newspaper I do debate, and I love rap and R&B music.