One More Time…

Can you stand one more post about the scam that goes by the name of educational vouchers?

This time, I want to begin by suggesting that we may be on the cusp of reversing the effort to destroy public education in the name of parental “choice,” although not before considerably more harm is done.

The Arizona Mirror recently published a report under the headline “Arizona’s universal school vouchers are a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation.”

Here’s the lede:

The nation is watching as the devastating impacts of Arizona’s universal voucher program unfold. The most expansive and least accountable in the country, Arizona’s ESA voucher program is an unmitigated economic disaster with very real human impacts.

Arizona, like Indiana, has a legislature dominated by Republicans, and those legislators sold the concept of universal vouchers by insisting (as they did in Indiana) that it would help low-income students. They also insisted that the additional cost to the state would be negligible.

As the paper reports, just one year into what it calls “this  failed experiment,” it has become apparent that universal ESA vouchers are welfare for the wealthy. They are also on a path that will “devastate the state’s budget and lead to school closures, teacher layoffs, and eventually cuts to services like firefighters, health care, roads and more.”

The newspaper’s analysis was devastating:

  • Vouchers hurt Arizona’s economy: After universal expansion, ESA vouchers are on track to cost Arizona taxpayers over $900 million this school year — nearly 1400% higher than initially projected. The legislature could have used this funding for teacher and staff salary increases, building safety, 21st-century learning, and so much more. Instead, Arizona school districts are already looking at cuts and school
  • Welfare for the wealthy: Universal ESA vouchers are primarily claimed by families whose children were already in private school and could already afford this option; now, these vouchers represent an entirely new cost to the state.
  • Arizona’s vouchers have no accountability: Unlike other states, Arizona’s universal vouchers have little to no transparency to taxpayers, zero academic accountability, and zero safety standards. There are no requirements to teach state standards, conduct background checks on teachers or tutors, or ensure site safety — meaning children will inevitably get hurt.
  • Vouchers hurt rural and low-income students: ESA vouchers are primarily claimed by more affluent families in wealthier zip codes and are concentrated in large, suburban areas. This robs funds from low-income and rural communities, leaving them behind.
  • With vouchers, students lose protections: ESA vouchers require parents to sign away federal rights, including protections for special education students, and are leading to many instances of state-funded discrimination against LGBTQ students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.

The article noted that other states have begun rethinking their voucher programs. In Texas,  a bipartisan coalition was able to block Gov. Abbott’s repeated attempts to pass ESA vouchers–the Texas legislature rejected voucher schemes five times this year. (One Texas Republican was quoted as saying “I believe in my heart that using taxpayer dollars to fund an entitlement program is not conservative, and it’s bad public policy. Expanding government-defined choice programs for a few without accountability… undermines our constitutional and moral duty to educate the children of Texas.” )

The Illinois legislature eliminated that state’s voucher program, concluding that it had enabled discrimination on the basis of religion, disability status, and LGBTQ+ status. And Georgia and Idaho have refused to institute voucher programs after concluding that the programs are both incredibly costly and lack essential accountability.

An earlier article from Politico confirmed that vouchers simply enrich wealthier Americans. It reported that the new vouchers in many cases lift—or even eliminate—household income caps, thus giving wealthier families state cash to send their kids to private schools–and data shows that many of these students aren’t leaving public schools for private ones.  Instead, most are going to students already enrolled in private schools.

Perhaps the most significant observation in the Arizona newspaper’s report was contained in the last paragraph of the article, which pointed to the underlying purpose of the voucher movement:

Universal ESA vouchers threaten to accomplish in Arizona exactly what they were designed to do: dismantle public education. Arizona would be wise to follow the nation in learning from our mistakes — before it’s too late.

Will Indiana’s legislators learn from Arizona and other states? I’m not holding my breath…but at least other states seem to be catching on.


  1. So…with all of that evidence, Indiana Republicans will likely expand the program. They are who they are.

  2. Meanwhile, the cracker jack “run it like a business” Republicans have managed to underestimate the state’s Medicaid costs by $1 billion dollars! Their pie in the sky thinking for managing the cost of health care is the same as that used for managing the costs of privatizing education. But fear not, the grossly uninformed public will not care as long as they can have their subsidized farm lands, football, and brew pubs.

  3. Indiana’s self-serving legislators will do whatever best benefits themselves and their cronies. Constituents be damned; the state is so gerrymandered that the possibility of not being re-elected is remote to none.

  4. Humans have long recognized the benefits of currency as abstract tokens of wealth. People once thought the safest way to carry the value they provided to others through work into the future was to wear it in “precious” metals or bits of colorful minerals.

    At other times, countries issued tokens of wealth as paper or coinage but backed by “precious” metals stored in places like Fort Knox.

    In the US, we soon learned that value could be carried forward if the paper had written on it that it was backed by the “full faith and credit of these United States.” Another form was paper that implied that it was as good as the full faith and credit of the sovereign state of Indiana and could be exchanged for education limited to the knowledge that Hoosiers valued.

    Then came Bitcoin, which implied that virtual tokens could be held without fear of disclosure or theft if only everyone Believed.

    Humans have such limited intelligence that we fall for all those scams. Why? We thought it was essential to accumulate real wealth like land and, once upon a time, the labors of humans domesticated like horses.

    I would never argue otherwise because I’m retired and living off of my previous labor that others could put a value on. Banks could loan me the accumulated wealth of others at interest and also allow me to lend my accumulated wealth at interest. The whole delusion served me and mine well.

    But the citizens of Ukraine and Gaza also taught me what a delusion it is. A few “dumb” or an aimed intelligent bomb with human-like senses and sensibilities could destroy wealth in a few milliseconds, including life. Or a single-cell virus.

    Pogo Possum once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” That put all of the famous Greek philosophers to shame in brilliance.

    We are just another step in the progress of life to find a way to survive. I was lucky to have sprung to life in a place that, while I needed it to be, was the Garden of Eden.

    You too?

  5. Vouchers give tax dollars to parents to pay their private school tuition. We might as well do what exists in Germany where tax dollars go directly to Catholic and Lutheran schools.

  6. Bill, that’s not completely true. If you are a member of “a” church, you declare it on your federal registration which automatically takes 10% of your income and sends it to your church of choice. If you do not declare a religious organization membership, that 10% stays in your pocket. It’s the same in Switzerland.

    That registry is shared with the local cooperative, medical insurance companies and tax office which looks like a driver’s license. You must carry it at all times.

  7. Vouchers also serve the purpose of dividing the citizens. Most vouchers go to religious schools that teach their “truths” to the students. This is enabling the curture war by teaching different views of science, history and community standards.

  8. So when our government wrote the Northwest Territory Acts (I think there were two enacted a couple of years apart), they understood the importance of public education, and made provisions for it. Now, our brilliant legislators have forgotten — or perhaps they understand that better educated citizens would vote them out.

    We seem to love to believe myths rather than the patently obvious.
    Vaping isn’t about hooking a new generation on nicotine; it’s about smoking cessation.
    Vouchers aren’t about paying for private school tuition for those already there, or pumping public money into churches; it’s about helping the poor.

  9. Vouchers have always been about segregation, whether by race, as was the original and still existent motivation, or religion, ethnicity, gender orientation or choose your bias of preference.
    Of course, wealthier parents have an advantage. They have the discretionary income to hire someone to make it happen, to say nothing of the leisure to do it themselves. Religious organizations, many touting “love thy neighbor” while making sure that neighbor is locked out, skew the curriculum to indoctrinate kids to ensure the future source of income remains secure.
    I wonder how many of those wealthier parents work every loophole in the state tax code, making sure they pay as little as possible into the common good. After all. tfg bragged about being “smart” (!) for not paying any taxes. Feeding at the public trough applies to the “other” because they are lazy and morally corrupt.
    If the state goes further into debt, someone will surely find a way to make the less wealthy pay more taxes by whatever means necessary. It certainly won’t pass any legislation requiring the wealthy and corporate classes to pony up.
    The irony in Indiana is that the Republican ruling class keeps selling their souls to big business, regardless of the harm done to its citizens and the environment. In turn, big business pushes the state to pay to train its potential workers in its public schools and private mostly religious schools. See how that works? It will stay that way due to gerrymander and voter suppression. Thus, we have the likely prospect of Braun, Banks, et al., driving the state bus further into the ditch.

  10. The whole point of Republican governance is to destroy the government. It seems they are succeeding.

  11. ESA = Empowerment Scholarship Account.
    In other words more thought was required for a high falutin’ name than what’s involved in the program it names.
    We ought to be familiar with that, too.

  12. Please consider going online at to find your IN state legislator and fill out their survey. Click on the upper right corner to find your legislator’s page. They typically have a section at the bottom of their survey to add your thoughts. The deadline for many of them is December 31.

    We Democrats need to tell our Republican legislators our opinions and ideas rather than letting them only hear from their fellow Rs. If we don’t start speaking up then how can we expect them to know what we think? We sure aren’t able to tell them at the gerrymandered ballot box.

    Here is a heads up about Senator Zay’s intentions for the upcoming session. He intends to author a bill to allow parents to claim their fetus as a dependent “child at conception” for a $3000 tax deduction. There is no limit to how far these radical republicans will go.

    I asked him if he is authoring the bill with the intention of using it to fight abortion rights. He said YES – he is a devout catholic and is 100% against abortion. After that he rambled on about how it will also financially help parents with pregnancy expenses. I said you know that’s not true – if you really want to help people with pregnancy expenses you would create a way to put money in their hands because a tax deduction will only be helping people who most likely have employer health insurance and earn a high enough income to be able to use this high of a deduction on their taxes.

  13. Pete,

    I concur with your opinion. With the new AI interpretation of the damaged Greek papyri from The sacked library in Alexandria, it shows exactly what happened in Greece after Alexander died. The same thing is happening here! It sheds new light on this history. But does history just continues over and over again. Every generation has to reinvent the wheel. Anything before it seems archaic to those in that generation. So they do the same dumb stuff that the previous generation has done.

    War? Civil unrest? Civil war? Succession? Assassinations? Propaganda? Slavery? Us versus them? Elimination of entire ethnicities? Elimination of entire creeds? Governmental corruption? Lobbyists? Paola? The list can go on ad’infinitem. Every single rabbit hole that could be found in history pops up and every other part of history. Like yesterday was mentioned, like a wormhole that touches every portion of history. It’s timeless!

    When you really think about it, gold? Silver? Copper? Lithium? And any other precious metal, unless not forget gemstones, They all are really just rocks in the ground. Or, encased in those rocks in the ground. Humanity put a price on those rocks! It’s a barter system that allows the majority to get the crappy end of the stick. After all who puts value on all of these things, the wealthy!

    The voucher system here in Illinois that has just been eliminated, has created a stink fest amongst those who were dining at the public feed trough. Now they have to tap in to their bank accounts! As it should be!

    Folks were losing there properties here because every single year taxes would go up by at least 10% if not 15 to 30%. Almost all of it went to the school systems because vouchers siphoned off so much money. And an extremely high percentage of these voucher destinations were religious entities that started schools. They were getting rich off of the public dole. That should never be! If you want to send your kids to a religious school, pay your taxes and pay your tuition to the school, don’t expect everyone else to do that.

    But again, this is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany, and countless times throughout previous historical epochs.

    It doesn’t matter how much technology advances, humanity is a one-trick pony. Not what you would expect from the apex intellect is it? Dead goes to show that humanity really is not an apex intellect, humanity just has more ability to use those opposable thumbs, lol!

  14. To find out how much money the IN school vouchers are syphoning away from your local public school system go to and search for the
    google doc spreadsheets. Scroll down until you find your school system, highlight that line and scroll to the right to find the local financial impact.

  15. Oh, wonderful! Another victory for small gov’t, and states rights!!
    Virtually any program the lying GOPIGGIES get behind takes us behind!

  16. John Peter Sorg – no question that the wheel of life keeps rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ ever on.

    Why can’t we ever keep learnin’, learnin’, learnin’?

  17. “ Can you stand one more post about the scam that goes by the name of educational vouchers?”

    Definitely yes. The Indiana GOP continues to chip away at public education. They haven’t stopped in their assault so defenders of public education shouldn’t stop calling them out. Keep the facts coming!

    They won’t stop till Jerry Falwell’s dream of a destroyed public education system is a reality.

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