Sending public funds to private schools would harm Kansas

Legislators' goals should be to strengthen public education, not weaken it by sending taxpayer dollars to private institutions

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Columnists

February 14, 2022 - 8:52 AM

USD 257 Board president Dan Willis checks out a new Family and Consumer Sciences classroom. Increasingly, advocates for private schools are trying to siphon off public tax dollars for their purposes. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Proposed legislation to allow state tax dollars for parents to send at-risk students to private schools is a disaster trying to happen.

Enacting the Student Empowerment Act would shift the foundation of Kansas public education. If parents were allowed to claim the per-pupil base state aid and use it for private school tuition, textbooks and other educational expenses then private citizens could direct use of public tax dollars for their private desires. 

Parents who see the SEA as an off-ramp from declining statewide student achievement scores have little conception of what could happen if this ill-conceived legislation becomes law. While there are strong private schools in Kansas, the SEA would hinder K-12 education and violate three basic purposes of American public education.

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