Dear Senator Coley and Representative Lang,
I’m writing today out of extreme concern with the recently updated list of public schools eligible for EdChoice scholarships.
Although I live in a district now eligible for EdChoice scholarships and send my children to a private school, I do not support the EdChoice program today.
While I appreciate the noble goal of providing a world-class education to every child in Ohio, I believe the program is flawed today for these reasons:
- Ohio does not hold private schools receiving EdChoice funding to the same standard that public schools losing funding are. My child’s private school participates in the Iowa standardized test but does not publicly release the results. Without some level of transparency, it is impossible to verify if a private school would be considered a “passing” or “failing” school.
- It is now widely accepted in the academic community that socioeconomic factors have a significant impact on standardized test scores (1, 2). Based on the results of standardized testing, the EdChoice program is unfairly punishing school districts and Ohio families that have the greatest need. Student outcomes have a significant impact on the local economy(3).
- Moving funds from (soon to be underfunded) public schools to private schools will impact student outcomes and directly harm local business and property values. There also is no evidence to support the students who use the vouchers will have better outcomes (4)
I strongly encourage the Ohio legislature to reverse the expansion of the EdChoice program, and pass legislation to reform the program by:
- Requiring all schools which accept the EdChoice vouchers to be held to the same standards as Public Schools and to make that data publically available.
- Adjust the Ohio School Report card scores to include normalization for socioeconomic factors for each school district.
- Creation of a grant program for schools with a significant disparity between their socioeconomically normalized testing scores and their total population scores to ensure they have the resources needed for world-class student outcomes.
I appreciate your attention to this issue.
1: THE GROWING CORRELATION BETWEEN RACE AND SAT SCORES: New Findings from California: https://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/growing-correlation-between-race-and-sat-scores-new-findings-california-saul-geiser
2: Common Core, Socioeconomic Status, and Middle Level Student Achievement: Implications for Teacher Preparation Programs in Higher Education: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1151813.pdf
3: The Economic Impact of Good Schools: http://hanushek.stanford.edu/publications/economic-impact-good-schools
4: Does Attendance in Private Schools Predict Student Outcomes at Age 15? Evidence From a Longitudinal Study: https://journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/XfYmtC25VddcCfbA3xiV/full