NSBA Urges Congress to Reject the Diversion of Public Funds to Private Schools

School vouchers are education tax dollars that are diverted from public schools to help subsidize the tuition of private and religious schools. Although some states and cities have limited voucher programs, the only federally funded program is in Washington, D.C.

Many voucher proponents are also endorsing education savings accounts and tuition tax credits, which sound nice, but are fundamentally the same as voucher programs as they siphon limited resources away from our nation’s public schools. Specifically, education savings accounts are simply accounts established with public dollars that parents can use for various educational expenses, including tuition at private schools. Tuition tax credits allow individuals or corporations to receive a tax credit in exchange for giving money to a scholarship granting organization. These organizations then cover tuition costs for students to attend private schools.

NSBA urges Congress to reject the implementation of a federal voucher program or other voucher alternatives and to work with us to improve, not weaken our public schools – which educate more than 50 million students.

View the National Coalition for Public Education's "Opposing Private School Vouchers: A Toolkit for Legislators and Advocates" for more information.

Did You Know?

Many of our nation’s public school districts currently provide educational choices that promote success in student achievement and school performance, thereby preparing our students for college and careers. From local magnet schools and charter schools authorized by local school boards to public specialty schools, such as military academies and those offering specialized curricula for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), many of our public school districts provide multiple choice options for the success of our students.

Talking Points

Use these talking points to let your Senators and Representatives know that you oppose draining critical resources from public schools to fund school vouchers and other voucher schemes:

  • Vouchers abandon public schools and drain away critical dollars – Vouchers divert attention, commitment and dollars from public schools to pay private school tuition for a few students, including many who already are in private school.
  • Vouchers impact public accountability – In stark contrast to the strong requirements faced by public school, private voucher schools do not have to meet ESSA and IDEA standards and they are not required to accept all students.
  • Vouchers leave behind many students, including the most vulnerable – Vouchers leave behind many disadvantaged students because private schools may not accept them or do not offer the special services they need. Students with disabilities and English language learners are underserved in voucher schools.
  • Vouchers often are not able to accommodate special education students – Students with disabilities attending a private school with a voucher would not necessarily receive all the Individualized Education Plan services they would otherwise receive in a public school. Not all private schools are bound to follow the same inclusion practices and parents are not entitled to the same procedural safeguards as they are under IDEA. A number of parents are reconsidering the placement of their children in private settings and are returning them to public schools. Vouchers do not raise student achievement for all – Research and evaluations have found little or no difference in voucher and public school students’ performance.

NSBA's Position

NSBA opposes private school vouchers and urges Congress to reject using any federal funds for a national voucher program, including any special education vouchers for military children and/or specific subgroups of students. NSBA believes that public funds should be used within public schools to advance curricula and choice, including charter schools authorized by local school boards. NSBA also opposes the use of education savings accounts and tuition tax credits as these are simply alternative versions of voucher programs.