The teacher unions whine constantly about tax-credit scholarships, tuition vouchers or education savings accounts being a “drain” on K-12 education funding. In his June 6 column, Victor Joecks came up with the perfect riposte in observing that, with regard to Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarships, “low-income parents would rather have a $5,400 scholarship to use at the school of their choice than go to a public school at a cost to taxpayers of more than $10,000 a year.”
So for half the money, parents have the schools they want for their children. That is a savings for tax coffers, not a drain.
A steadily building body of evidence is documenting the gains in productivity yielded by private choice. Consider another Opportunity Scholarship program — the one Congress started in 2004 for low-income Washington, D.C., children. The most recent federal evaluation found it has decreased absenteeism while increasing safety and student satisfaction. Previous studies had given the schools of choice a big edge over conventional government schools in graduation rates.
All these results (and more) for scholarships averaging $9,600 per pupil — in stark contrast with the D.C. public schools spending more than $28,000 per pupil.