SCHOOL VOUCHER RESOURCE PAGE
From the Pastors for Oklahoma Kids Declaration (2017):
We recognize that education improvement and reform are necessary in Oklahoma in order to properly fund and resource our teachers, schools, and students. We reject the false notion that schools are “failing” or not caring for our students. We urge a halt to the demonization of public schools and anti-public school rhetoric.
We affirm the separation of church and state, which will keep public schools free from coercive pressure to promote any sectarian faith.
We recognize vouchers, ESAs, and privatization as an attempt to convert the free public education of the many into a marketplace of financial gain for the few. The proliferation of school choice programs is an attempt to redistribute public education resources from the most underfunded districts into the hands of private education profiteers. We call for an end to this profiteering of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children.
Denominational Statements on School Vouchers
National Council of Churches
“We repeat our conviction that parents have the right to select home schooling or private or parochial schools for their children. But with that personal right comes the public obligation to support public schools for all children.”
“We do affirm our conviction that, as a general rule, public funds should be used for public purposes. We also caution that government aid to primary and secondary religious schools raises constitutional problems, and could undermine the schools’ independence and/or compromise their religious message.”
-The Churches and the Public Schools at the Close of the Twentieth Century, A Policy Statement of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, Adopted November 11, 1999
The United Methodist Church
“…We specifically oppose tuition tax credits, school vouchers, or any other mechanism that directly or indirectly allows government funds to support religious schools at the primary and secondary level.”
-Book of Resolutions, 5012
The Southern Baptist Convention
“Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work.“
-Baptist Faith & Message, 2000
“We declare our explicit opposition to: Any benefits such as tuition tax credits or vouchers, which use public funds for the support of religion sponsored activities and institutions;”
“We object strenuously, therefore, to any proposal that authorizes taxes or borrowing power be used to make grants or loans to sectarian or church related schools. We emphasize that the use of government finances in support of any
sectarian purpose is a violation of basic religious liberties for it coerces citizens to support religious objectives which many of them cannot conscientiously approve.”
-American Baptist Resolution on Separation of Church and State, #8117:9/83
Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
“Private choices do not, however, absolve anyone in the church from responsibility to support and protect the right of all
children to education, and for most, that will mean public education. Our call is to love our neighbor as ourselves—to act in such a way that all our neighbors’ children have the same access to a quality education as that we desire for our own.”
-Loving Our Neighbors, Equity and Quality in Public Education, Approved by the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
“In light of the essential role of public education in serving the common good of the society and in the face of continuing
concern for the effectiveness of some public schools, the lack of equitable access for many students to high-quality schools, and the often inadequate provision of financial resources, the ELCA affirms and advocates for the equitable, sufficient, and effective funding of public schools.“
“To what degree does the [school voucher] ensure just, equitable, and long-term viable sources of funding?”
-Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, SCHOOL VOUCHER PROPOSALS, Social Policy Resolution CA01.06.26 (2001)
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
“The BJC continues to defend the religious schools’ freedom to carry out their dual mission. Opposition to vouchers is a necessary part of this effort. All of us deserve the right to choose religious schools for our children, but we don’t have the right to insist that others pay for it through taxpayer-funded vouchers.”
-“School vouchers threaten religious autonomy”, 2015
Voucher Impact Research
- A 2019 study on the academic effects of the Louisiana voucher program by researchers at the University of Arkansas found that after four years, students using the vouchers to attend private schools “performed noticeably worse on state assessments than their [public school] control group counterparts.” The data showed “large negative effects” on assessment results, especially in math. The results of this study conducted over a longer timeframe appeared to contradict earlier claims that the negative academic effects of the Louisiana voucher program could be temporary. A 2019 companion study found that participation in the Louisiana voucher program did not improve rates of college enrollment.
- A 2019 evaluation by the Institute for Education Sciences entitled “Evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts Three Years After Students Applied” found that the Washington, D.C. voucher program had no statistically significant effect on student achievement in reading or math after three years. It also concluded that the program did not improve parent satisfaction with schools or perceptions of school safety.
- A 2018 evaluation by the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Alabama of the academic achievement of Alabama’s tax credit voucher recipients during the 2016-2017 school year found that, “On average, over time, participating in the scholarship program was not associated with significant improvement on standardized test scores.” The results of the state-mandated evaluation showed that “scholarship recipients generally performed below the average U.S. student at their grade level.”
- A 2018 policy paper published by the Grand Canyon Institute estimated the cost of Arizona’s private school voucher programs, which supporters claim save taxpayer dollars. The author found instead that the cost of a student in a voucher program is 75% higher than the cost of a public school student. The study also found a slight decline in private school enrollment since Arizona’s first voucher program was implemented in 1999. At the same time, “the amount spent on private school subsidies from the General Fund has increased nearly 50-fold from $3 million in 1999-2000 to $141 million in 2015-16.”
- A 2017 policy memo published by the National Education Policy Center examined the fiscal impacts of the statewide Wisconsin private school voucher program on Wisconsin public school districts. Analysis showed that districts are at risk of losing a significant portion of their state aid as participation in the voucher program increases. The author concluded that Wisconsin demonstrates that statewide voucher programs can pose a significant risk to public school funding levels.
- A 2018 policy paper from the National Council on Disability entitled “Choice & Vouchers – Implications for Students with Disabilities” examined private school voucher programs and “how this alteration in the flow of public funds results in critical and often minsunderstood changes in protections for students with disabilities and their families, under not only IDEA, but also federal nondiscrimination laws.”
- A 2016 report from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates found that private schools may accept students with disabilities but expel them for behavioral or other reasons, and private school vouchers for special education students “typically fail to include all students with disabilities.”