Summary of The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers

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The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers summary

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US secretary of education Betsy DeVos is advocating the first nationwide school voucher program. Policy experts at the Center for American Progress, however, don’t believe that vouchers improve education opportunities for those who need them most. In this article, education policy experts Chris Ford, Stephenie Johnson and Lisette Partelow describe the historical context and practical consequences of prior state-enacted voucher programs. The authors argue persuasively that voucher programs – past and present – discriminate against black and disadvantaged students. 

About the Authors

Chris Ford, Stephenie Johnson and Lisette Partelow work for the K-12 strategic initiatives program at the Center for American Progress. 


US president Donald Trump and secretary of education Betsy DeVos have voiced strong support for a federal school voucher system. Parents could use such vouchers to enroll their children at private schools of the parents’ choice. In theory, vouchers would allow low-income students to leave failing public schools, but opponents of voucher programs claim that they direct much-needed money away from public education and toward unaccountable private institutions.

Those championing school vouchers often disregard the system’s racist...

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