Since AU was founded in 1947, it has continued its work to oppose government funding of private religious schools. Both private school vouchers and tuition tax credits funnel taxpayer money away from public schools and into private and religious schools, violating our country’s commitment to the separation of church and state. To further our work in this area, AU serves as the co-chair of the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE), a coalition of national organizations that support public schools and oppose school vouchers and tuition tax credits.
The DC “Opportunity Scholarship Program” is the country’s first and only federally-funded private school voucher program. The program has proven time and again to be ineffective in improving students’ academic achievement, enhancing educational opportunities, and providing better resources to students living in DC. And, according to a 2013 report issued by the Government Accountability Office, the program continues to face significant accountability and quality control problems. AU, along with the rest of NCPE, recently called for the elimination of funding for the DC voucher program altogether.
In 2014, two far reaching federal voucher bills, the “Scholarship for Kids Act” and the “CHOICE Act,” were introduced. The “Scholarship for Kids Act,” H.R. 4000/S. 1968, would use Title I money, which would ordinarily support school-wide programs at schools with high concentrations of students in poverty, to pay for private school vouchers instead. Additionally, the “CHOICE Act,” H.R. 4773/S. 1909 would expand the already failing DC voucher program, turn federal funds reserved for students with disabilities attending public schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) into a private school voucher program, and create a private school voucher program for students who live on military installations.
State legislatures across the country also continue to introduce voucher and tuition tax credit bills. In the 2013-14 session, AU opposed pro-voucher and tuition tax credit bills in eight states.
- Votes on State Voucher and Tuition Tax Credit Referenda
- NCPE letter calling for the elimination of funding of the DC voucher program
- NCPE Talking Points opposing the DC voucher program
- NCPE Myths vs. Facts about the DC voucher program
- NCPE Summary of the 2013 GAO Report
- NCPE Summary of 2010 Department of Education Report on DC vouchers
- NCPE talking points opposing the Scholarship for Kids Act
- NCPE talking points opposing the CHOICE Act
- AU talking points opposing the Educational Opportunities Act and Tuition Tax Credits
- AU action alert to North Carolina members opposing a NC voucher bill
- AU blog post on vouchers
- VoucherFail Tumblr