Voucher supporters say these bills would leave public schools with more money per pupil, since the students who depart for private schools would only take state funding, leaving behind their share of local and federal dollars. They say the free market would ensure quality, since parents could choose to leave a poorly performing private school.
Opponents say vouchers divert funding from underfunded public schools. They say private schools lack accountability in the form of state testing or teacher certification. And they say low-income households are less likely to take advantage of vouchers since they are less able than the wealthy to cover the gap between the state subsidy and full tuition.
“This is an illusion of choice,” said Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, a former Atlanta school board member now with the Public Education Matters Action Fund.