California voters, parents and teachers do not support school voucher programs because they hurt students and schools by draining scarce resources away from public education. California voters overwhelming rejected voucher initiatives in 2000 and in 1993.
All voucher proposals reduce funding to neighborhood schools, meaning fewer textbooks, fewer teachers per student and more overcrowded classrooms. At the same time these programs cost taxpayers millions of dollars and increase bureaucratic and administrative costs.
Voucher programs provide no accountability to taxpayers. Both initiatives proposed in California would have created unregulated voucher schools that receive taxpayer money, but would have been allowed to make financial decisions in secret without any financial audits. In addition, voucher school operators would were not required to have any training or experience educating children and voucher school teachers were not required to have a credential or even a college degree.
There is no link between vouchers and student achievement. Studies continue to show there have been no significant improvements in student achievement in voucher schools. In fact, the most dramatic improvements in student achievement have occurred in places where vouchers do not exist.
Vouchers do not give parents real educational choice. Participating private schools may limit enrollment, and in many cases may maintain exclusive admissions policies and charge tuition and fees far above the amount provided by the voucher. Unlike public schools, private and religious schools can — and do — discriminate in admissions on the basis of prior academic achievement, standardized test scores, interviews with applicants and parents, gender, religion, income, special needs, and behavioral history.