It was obvious to Congress two centuries ago that a private school system would not be able to educate all children equitably. Congress created state systems of education and said that these public schools should be “forever encouraged.” After the Civil War, public taxes were mandated to fund these schools.
In the last few decades, a movement has begun to permit private or “charter” schools which function outside the public school system. Many of these schools are not held to the same standards of educational growth for students that public schools must meet. Often the schools are businesses, with the goal of a profit for the owners.
The current administration has appointed a Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who may be the most unqualified ever. Ninety percent of American students attend public schools. Secretary DeVos never attended a public school, never worked in a public school and did not send her own four children to public schools.
In her home state of Michigan, she has destabilized the Michigan public school system by pushing legislators to allow public school tax money to be used by families to send their children to private and charter schools. Now Secretary DeVos is implementing the same policy on a national level. Her voucher bill could cost our public schools $50 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
Too often, the goal of private profit for a school can be in competition with the goal of an appropriate education for each child. Ohio learned first hand how profit can be incompatible with quality education when the virtual online for profit school ECOT had to pay the state $60 million for false enrollment numbers.
Schools outside the public system can always be a choice for families, but public tax money should go to the public school system.