TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – January 22-28 is National School Choice Week. In honor of National Week, many young students and parents gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday morning to fight for a chance to choose the school they want to attend.
The group believes they should be given the choice of which school their children enroll in regardless of where they live or their finances. The House Education Committee is currently considering a bill that would expand eligibility for a tax-credit scholarship program to attend private schools.
Supporters of the measure, such as Kansas Policy Institute president James Franko, have said that if this measure is achieved, families can have more access to the necessary resources and quality education they desire.
“It’s because in Kansas we have pretty staggering achievement gaps between lower-income kids and higher-income kids,” Franko said. “And giving parents more say in how their children are educated won’t be a silver bullet. It will be an opportunity for those closest to the children to find the best opportunity to succeed in life.”
The Kansas Association of School Boards testified about its opposition on the issue Wednesday saying:
“To ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed, all publicly funded schools must serve all children on the same basis as public schools. We oppose programs including, but not limited to, vouchers, educational savings accounts, and tuition tax credits because such programs divert public funding from public education to schools, which are not required to serve all students, including those who are disadvantaged, disabled or have the greatest needs”.
We are not convinced that the Tuition Tax Credit Scholarship will improve student outcomes in Kansas. Public school students and private school students generally perform roughly the same as similar types of students. Additionally, giving donors a 100% tax break for funding a private school education supports tax avoidance in the form of charity.