Pennsylvania has two programs that provide students with taxpayer-funded vouchers to private and religious schools: the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. Since their inception in 2001, the EITC and OSTC programs have provided more than $2 billion in taxpayer-funded support for school vouchers.
Any new voucher program would be on top of existing and equally unproven voucher-like programs (EITC and OSTC) in Pennsylvania that in the 2023-24 budget already divert $470 million in taxpayer dollars that, again, could otherwise be going to close the unconstitutional public school funding gap.
The current voucher program is devoid of any accountability or oversight of existing or future private and religious schools that would ensure they’re improving outcomes for students or following anti-discrimination laws, which means, for example, that those schools could discriminate in admission against students with disabilities.
Read more on the history of private school voucher programs in the United States.
It’s important to know what is at stake if new private school voucher programs come to Pennsylvania. Listen to the experience of Arizona and North Carolina from the experts.
TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAMS MEANS:
- Less money for public schools with finite resources available;
- Higher property taxes when districts receive less from the state; and
- Money to wealthy families to send kids to private and religious schools because the programs are not based on need.
TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO VOUCHER PROGRAMS WILL NOT:
Close the school funding gap because dollars to private and religious schools divert money from and harm public schools;
Remedy PA’s broken and unconstitutional school funding system; or
Improve student outcomes because there is no accountability for the private and religious schools that will receive these taxpayer dollars.
VOUCHER SPECIFIC TALKING POINTS
More than Three Weeks and Counting
Read the Room: Fund Public Schools (Not Private)
Why is a School Voucher Program Worth Holding up the Entire State Budget?
School Voucher Programs Fail to Improve Student Performance
The Dangers of Private School Vouchers: Lessons Learned from the States
Jan. 24, 2024
NORTH CAROLINA SLIDES
Partnership for the Future of Learning voucher website
Voucher Insights (truthinedfunding.org)
Save Our Schools Arizona Network
The Impacts of Universal ESA Vouchers: Arizona’s Cautionary Tale
North Carolina Justice Center
New Analysis shows many private schools in N.C. have more vouchers than students
The Brookings Institute
Research on vouchers suggests concerns ahead for Education Savings Accounts
Education Voters of PA
Pennsylvania Voucher Schools Use Tax Dollars to Advance Discrimination