Conservative gubernatorial candidates, including Kendall Qualls and Paul Gazelka, support it. The Senate conservatives in the Minnesota legislature are always talking about it. But what does “school choice” actually mean?
Despite what conservatives want you to think, “school choice” offers no choice at all for many families. And that makes it the wrong choice for Minnesota.
Shortchanging our schools
Time and time again, conservatives have voted against fully funding our schools. Despite seeing the challenges faced by our teachers and students during the pandemic, Senate conservatives continue to propose inadequate education budgets with no funding increases. Instead of investing in our education system, conservatives rave about “school choice,” hiding their harmful education agenda behind deceptive words and ineffective policy.
“School choice” is a misleading name for a school voucher system, which conservatives have been pushing for years. These programs cut funding for public schools and instead create scholarships for kids to attend private schools. School vouchers are a thinly veiled attempt by conservatives to further disenfranchise public schools.
We all want our kids to have the opportunity to get a great education, but vouchers don’t work. And that’s been proven.
Conservatives haven’t done their homework on education
In states like Indiana and Ohio, studies show that voucher programs negatively impact student achievement. Compared to their peers who stayed in public schools, students who transferred on vouchers to private schools were offered less instructional time and fewer resources, which led to lower test scores.
School vouchers also widen disparities rather than close them. That’s because private schools are inaccessible to many low-income, rural, and minority families. Private schools are either too far away, or not there at all. In fact, it’s white, suburban students who take advantage of vouchers most often.
Additionally, many private schools don’t offer support for English-learners or provide accommodations for the growing number of students with special needs.
School vouchers haven’t worked for any other state in the country. How do conservatives expect us to believe that they’ll work here?
Help us fight for our students
Every student in Minnesota deserves a world-class education. We can’t let conservatives get away with shortchanging our schools and worsening educational disparities. As the school year marches on, be sure to keep in touch with ABM for updates and action alerts. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Together, we’ll work to ensure that Minnesota makes the grade on education.