To the Editor:
In a recent article on Betsy DeVos, Education Week repeatedly described the new U.S. secretary of education as a proponent of “school choice” (“DeVos Takes Hot Seat in Confirmation Quest,” Jan. 25, 2017).
A voucher program does not constitute school choice. If an upper-middle-class or rich family uses a voucher to help pay for a private school their child already attends, it takes away money from public schools. If a middle-class or poor child wanted to attend a private school, a voucher typically would not cover the entire cost of that private school, so the child likely could not attend because the parents still could not afford the tuition. There would be no “school choice” available to these parents or their children.
Charter schools, on the other hand, are public schools that do not need vouchers; they’re free to everyone and paid for by public funds.
Basically, what DeVos wants to do is take money away from public schools and give it to private schools without guaranteeing access to all students and without requiring the same accountability that public schools face.
Department of Learning and Instruction
University of San Francisco
A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2017 edition of Education Week as Vouchers Are Not the Same as ‘School Choice’