SB1452 once again expands the amount of public dollars given to private and religious schools.
SB1452 makes numerous small changes to state law to further broaden the reach of its controversial “Empowerment Scholarship Account” (school voucher) program.
Essentially, SB1452 loosens the criteria for who receives vouchers. It loosens restrictions on who can vouchers alongside the state’s similar tuition tax credit program. It also would siphon more low-income students from public schools rather than adequately fund those schools.
Why is this a bad thing?
- Vouchers disproportionately benefit the wealthy: the cost of going to private schools is much higher than that of going to public schools. Even with vouchers in hand, the majority of impoverished families can’t afford it. Families that are already financially secure, meanwhile, get a handout.
- This handout comes at the expense of struggling public school districts: When a public school loses a student to the voucher program, it loses thousands of dollars that help pay for teachers, building, and classroom costs. These schools continue to have the same overhead with less revenue.
- Data shows private schools perform far worse than public schools academically, with less oversight.
- Vouchers violate our rights to religious freedom by using public funds for religious indoctrination. Vouchers largely benefit religious schools, some of which teach extremist dogma and discriminate against students for religious reasons.