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Stand Up for Students

Editor, News-Register:

The policies of Ohio Republicans are draining millions of dollars from public schools into private school vouchers. Toledo Public Schools’ voucher costs jumped $5.7 million, while Parma schools saw their voucher expenses leap $2.1 million this year.

The voucher program isn’t just impacting low-performing schools. Wealthier, high-performing districts have seen an increase in vouchers. The number of voucher-eligible schools is 139 this year, up from 40 in 2018-19.

That massive expansion of the voucher program isn’t enough for Ohio Republican lawmakers. State Sen. Matt Huffman is continuing to push a privatization agenda to expand the voucher program even more to all schools, even if they score an A on state report cards.

Vouchers hurt Ohio students. Money is being diverted away from public schools, but the test scores of students who utilize vouchers actually decline after moving schools.

We must support efforts to curb the harmful expansion of EdChoice vouchers. As an former educator, I have seen how they are hurting many districts’ ability to serve the needs of the students who deserve a quality public education by forcing the district to pay for the private school tuition. This problem will only get worse if something isn’t done by the legislature.

There are several proposals that have been offered to mitigate the impact of EdChoice vouchers on our public schools. They include:

Requiring high school students to attend a public school in the year prior to applying for a voucher

Providing supplemental state funding for districts that are harmed by EdChoice deductions

Exempting buildings with an overall grade of A, B or C

Eliminating K-3 literacy from the criteria for EdChoice eligibility

Making an income-based voucher the default when a student qualifies for both EdChoice programs

On Tuesday, the Ohio Senate passed a bill which reduces the number of schools that would be eligible for the EdChoice vouchers next year but also increases the income level for a family’s eligibility. That change negates any other improvements of the bill.

Public education remains the choice of more than 90% of Ohio’s students. I encourage all to stand up for students by supporting policies that mitigate the harmful effects of voucher expansion.

Amy Yevincy

St. Clairsville

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