Concerns about too much regulation and maintaining independence are the primary reasons private schools choose not to participate in school voucher or tax-credit scholarship programs,.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas surveyed 950 private school leaders in Florida, Indiana, and Louisiana about their attitudes toward private school choice programs for the American Enterprise Institute, a free enterprise-oriented think tank in Washington.
Private, taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers are provided by some states to eligible students (generally students with disabilities or from low-income families). Tax-credit scholarship programs allow businesses or individuals to claim tax credits for donations to state-approved organizations, which then give the money to eligible students to use toward private-school tuition.
One-third of private schools in Florida don’t take part in the state’s tax-credit scholarship program, about half do not participate in Indiana’s voucher program, and two-thirds have opted out of Louisiana’s voucher program, the survey found. Among some other findings:
• Of Florida’s nonparticipating schools, more than a quarter said they didn’t know about the tax-credit scholarships;
• Forty-one percent of Florida’s nonparticipating schools said they plan to join in the following year, but only 20 percent in Indiana and 8 percent in Louisiana said so;
• Of participating schools, 5 percent in Indiana and 10 percent in Florida—but 38 percent in Louisiana—turned away students due to heavy demand.
A version of this article appeared in the January 29, 2015 edition of Education Week as Private Schools Chime In on Choice