This is the odd argument you hear from voucher tax credit supporters: “So many kids have applied, we can’t repeal it now – but wait until thousands are using the program, then we should look at the data and consider repeal.”
There are several points to remember when you hear this argument:
- About 1,800 students per year transfer from our public schools to private schools every year, even without subsidies from the State. Virtually all of those families that qualify will surely apply for a voucher even though they would have made the same move without public subsidy. This kind of subsidy should not be a high priority for public money.
- Students already in private schools are eligible for vouchers as well. Legislators are already getting calls saying, “My daughter is in private school and we’re depending on this new program. Don’t repeal it.” Is this a high priority use of state money in these times?
- There is no educational accountability for voucher schools. Right now, you can look up the educational performance of every public school in New Hampshire – traditional public schools and charters – but you will not be able to do that for voucher schools. The Legislature will be in no better position to assess the educational performance of the voucher program 4 years from now than it is today.
What we do know today is that the voucher tax credit takes public money from public schools and uses it to subsidize private and religious schools that infuse Biblical belief into math, science, phonics and all other subjects in the curriculum. Constitutional issues aside, this is not a curriculum worthy of state education dollars appropriated to prepare our kids for college and career.