In Ohio a School Voucher Expansion Has Been Introduced in the Legislature. What Does It Mean?
In Ohio, where privatization has been expanding since the 1990s—with five kinds of school vouchers plus a large and unregulated charter school sector—Kevin Huffman, a state senator from Lima has proposed consolidating three of the state’s voucher programs into one and expanding its reach into the middle class. Ohioans have been watching school privatization expand for decades, and it is not difficult to predict the impact of the expansion of vouchers.
Unlike some other states, Ohio did not see a rash of new school startups to take advantage of the three voucher programs which would be folded together into the new plan. Vouchers first began in Cleveland and then expanded to other large cities. Patrick O’Donnell of the Plain Dealer recently documented: “The vast majority, 97% of money from Ohio’s three main tuition voucher programs goes to private religious schools.” O’Donnell then lists the top twenty schools in the state receiving vouchers. All of the schools are religious. Sixteen are Catholic schools—ten of them in Cleveland; one is a Cleveland-area Lutheran school. Sixteen of the twenty are in Ohio’s big cities, with three in suburbs of those cities, and one in a smaller city. None is located in a small town or rural area. (The fourth and fifth Ohio voucher programs serve only students with disabilities; they are are smaller and unrelated to Huffman’s new proposal.)