Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Panel vows no private school vouchers for dropouts

Panel vows no private school vouchers for dropouts

Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN ˜ Texas won't use private school vouchers to
educate high school dropouts, a state education
council insisted Tuesday while adopting a strategic
plan aimed at increasing graduation rates.

But a group critical of school vouchers remains

The High School Completion and Success Initiative
Council advocates multiple approaches to address the
dropout problem, including "alternative delivery
systems," which the Texas Freedom Network believes is
code language for "school vouchers."

Vouchers allow parents to send children to private and
religious schools with public money paying for at
least a portion of the tuition.

"I cannot see this language (in the strategic plan)
as, in any way, opening the door for anything that we
would be putting under the heading of vouchers," said
council member Don McAdams.

McAdams is president of the Houston-based Center for
Reform of School Systems, and a former president of
the Houston Independent School District board of

"If we are going to go down this path, I think it will
create so much controversy that it will distract from
the work of our council, which is another good reason
why we should stay away from (vouchers)," McAdams

The strategic plan does allow the Texas Education
Agency to fund nonprofit groups to educate school

And that's "not giving money to a parent to shop
around" such as a traditional voucher program would
allow, noted Education Commissioner Robert Scott,
chairman of the High School Completion and Success
Initiative Council.

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