Staff Editorial: School vouchers are unfair to public school students

May 1, 2017

Infographic by Evan Klein

In Minnesota, students can use school vouchers to help them afford private schools by paying for a part of the tuition. During 2016 alone Minnesota spent $35 million on school vouchers. This equals almost half of a percent of the States public school budget.

It is not fair for students to use money that would go to our public schools for private tuition. Students should not jump ship to try and leave the public schools. The strongest students end up being the ones that leave so public schools are left at a disadvantage.

Vouchers gained national popularity in 1990 when the Milwaukee parental choice program was founded. Trump’s pick for secretary of education, Betsy Devos supported school vouchers in her home state of Michigan. This means we may see in increase in vouchers nationwide.

The increase in vouchers would not be good for Minnesota. We already have too many school vouchers and expanding on them will not help our public school systems. The increase in vouchers will simply undermine the public schools.

Lawmakers are considering giving higher tax credits to people who donate to private school scholarships. The credit would be for up to 70 percent of the donations. The state would cap the credits at $35 million.

Should school vouchers be incorporated into our school system?

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This increase in tax credits is not necessary for people to donate to private school scholarships. People will not benefit from the proposed new law. Private schools will contend that they need more funding and support but in reality, they will still get donors to aid in paying for scholarships.

The average private school tuition is $4,438. An increase in scholarships could allow a large influx of students to go to private schools. There will be an economic impact if we allow kids who traditionally go to public schools to all move to private schools at once.

This law is a thinly veiled way to break down the public school system. It is not good for our public schools to lose students, especially so many at one time.


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