Policy Brief Outlines the Dangers of “Ed Stamps” and their Potential Impact on Children

San Antonio (May 19, 1999) – Diverting public money for private schools takes money away from communities, resulting in higher taxes for homeowners and businesses in the community, reports a policy brief released today by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Some voucher proponents have depicted vouchers as being like food stamps. The new “education stamps” would be provided to “the needy.” But many people in communities know too well the restrictions and stigma associated with food stamps. Similarly, vouchers leave the choices about using “ed stamps” ultimately with the receiving private schools.

Students for Sale – The Use of Public Money for Private Schooling examines the dangers of publicly-funded voucher programs for children and neighborhood public schools. Key findings include:

  • Private schools are not accountable to the public for their actions or results.
  • With a voucher program, it is not the parents who have a choice. The private schools have the choice about which students to accept.
  • Voucher programs do not significantly improve educational achievement of students.
  • Vouchers would give a new government subsidy to private schools and wealthy parents with children already in private schools.
  • Investing in neighborhood public schools is investing in communities.

The policy brief was released as the Texas legislature considers proposals that would divert public funds for private schooling. The brief was developed by the IDRA Institute for Policy and Leadership as part of a series on four key issues in education designed to inform community and policy decisions during the Texas legislative session and beyond. The other policy briefs in the series (Missing: Texas Youth – Dropout and Attrition Rates in Texas Public High Schools and Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs in Texas – What is Known; What is Needed and Failing Our Children – Finding Alternatives to In-Grade Retention) were released in February and March.

Students for Sale – The Use of Public Money for Private Schooling and the other released policy briefs are on-line at www.idra.org. Review copies are available to the media by request. Copies are available to the general public for $7 each.

Contact: Christie L. Goodman, APR at IDRA, 210-444-1710; christie.goodman@idra.org

IDRA is an independent, non-profit organization, directed by María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., dedicated to creating schools that work for all children. As a vanguard leadership development and research team for 25 years, IDRA has worked with people to create self-renewing schools that value and empower all children, families and communities. IDRA conducts research and development activities, creates, implements and administers innovative education programs and provides teacher, administrator, and parent training and technical assistance.