May 6 2012
12:35 pm

According to reporting by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 10 of 50 states across America--plus Washington, D.C.--have now legalized some form of publicly funded school voucher program.

Two other states have enacted voucher programs in recent years only to have them declared unconstitutional by either a state or the federal Supreme Court.

The Nation magazine reported in November 2011 that 27 additional states have voucher legislation pending.

As to another less direct mechanism to sap public revenues for the benefit of private concerns, NCSL reports that eight states have now legalized some form of tuition tax credit program for individual filers, corporate filers, or both.

Programs in four of these states do not require that participating private schools administer standardized tests to students.

You will note that the NCSL site links readers to the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education for additional reading.

Another victory for privatizers is their continued success in changing states' laws to allow for-profit education management organizations (EMOs) to oversee charter schools.

While the number of states now allowing for-profit EMOs is not clear, Dr. Gary Miron of Western Michigan University testified last year before the Michigan State House, telling legislators that "one-third of the nation’s charter schools are being operated by private EMOs" and cautioning them that "this proportion is growing rapidly each year." In states such as Michigan, he said, close to 80% of charter schools are operated by private for-profit EMOs.

Meanwhile, NCSL offers these details as to which states currently allow vouchers and/or tuition tax credit programs:

The eight states utilizing voucher programs are Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Additionally, a school voucher program to have operated in Washington, D.C. was reauthorized this spring with the aid and support of U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

The eight states utilizing tuition tax credit programs are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Among these, two states--Arizona and Iowa--offer tuition tax credits to just individual filers.

Another three states--Florida, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island--offer tuition tax credits to just corporate filers wishing to direct a portion of their taxes owed to private school tuition organizations which in turn offer scholarships to K-12 students attending private schools.

Finally, three states--Indiana, Georgia, and Oklahoma--offer tuition tax credits to both individual and corporate tax filers.

A still clearer picture of school privatizers' victories to date would also include a state-by-state review of where for-profit online schools are now in operation across the nation.

Your help in compiling this information is welcome, as I am trying to do so utilizing only mentions of states found at the corporate websites of the major providers, including K12 Inc., Connections Education, and Advanced Academies.


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