Friday, June 2, 2017

Voucher Program Helps Well-Off Vermonters Pay for Prep School at Public Expense - ProPublica

Voucher Program Helps Well-Off Vermonters Pay for Prep School at Public Expense - ProPublica:

Voucher Program Helps Well-Off Vermonters Pay for Prep School at Public Expense

Regardless of their income, residents of small Vermont towns can use state vouchers to send their children to boarding schools and ski academies. Some school-choice advocates want to replicate the program nationwide.

Image result for big education ape devos vouchers


A self-made Vermonter, Glenn Bowman has sent both his children to out-of-state prep schools. His son plays lacrosse and football at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and his daughter studied advanced dance at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.
As the owner of a successful soapstone company that's been featured on Martha Stewartand mentioned in The New York Times, Bowman could pay the $50,000-plus annual tuitions at each school out of his own pocket, he said.
But he doesn’t have to.
Because Londonderry, the small town where the Bowmans live, has no high school, they qualify for Vermont’s voucher program, the nation’s oldest. It contributes about $15,000 a year toward each tuition, ultimately saving Bowman more than $100,000 overall on his children’s high school educations.
Bowman chose not to enroll his children in a public school in a nearby town, which the voucher could also have paid for. “Unfortunately, public schools are left dealing with the lowest common denominator and that leaves high-performing kids like mine in a tough place,” he told ProPublica. “You do the best you can for your kids. I can do this and so I do.”
Vermont’s voucher program is a microcosm of what could happen across the country if school-choice advocates such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos achieve their vision. By subsidizing part of the cost of private schools in or out of state, it broadens options for some Vermonters while diverting students from public education and disproportionately benefiting wealthier families like the Bowmans.
Vermont vouchers have been used to send students to ski academies, out-of-state art schools and even foreign boarding schools, such as the Sigtunaskolan School in Sweden, whose alumni include Sweden’s current king and former prime minister. Vermont paid more than $40 million in vouchers to more than 60 private schools last year, including more than $1.3 million to out-of-state schools, according to data received from the state’s education agency through a public-records request.
Of the almost 2,800 Vermonters who use publicly funded vouchers to go to private schools in state, 22.5 percent qualify for free or reduced price lunch, according to state education data. (The data excludes out-of-state private schools.) By contrast, 38.3 percent of public school students in Vermont have family incomes low enough to qualify them for the lunch discount.
“Families with higher socioeconomic status are opting into the private schools,” Nicole Mace, executive director of the Vermont School Boards Association, said in an interview. “If those dollars are going to subsidize a family who could otherwise afford a private Voucher Program Helps Well-Off Vermonters Pay for Prep School at Public Expense - ProPublica:

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers

Latest News and Comment from Education