Vouchers aka Tax Credits and Scholarship Funds

Updated May 26, 2016 |
Vouchers aka Tax Credits and Scholarship Funds
Voucher programs have gained a lot of traction since 1989 when the first voucher program appeared in Milwaukee. We look at how things are playing out in 2015.

Vouchers have been a fact in American private school education since 1989 when the State of Wisconsin passed a voucher program which aimed to help students from low income families in Milwaukee. Since then 39 voucher programs have been set up. According to the American Federation for Children the following states now have some form of voucher program:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin


What exactly are vouchers? The simplest definition is using public funds to pay for a private school education. Voucher programs take many forms and we will look at those later in this article.

How many students nationwide benefit from voucher programs? In 2014 approximately 308,000 students were recipients of some kind of tax dollars in voucher programs or variations thereof. That is 0.006% of the K-12 public school student population which was approximately 50 million at the beginning of the 2014 school year. The actual expenditure is in the millions of dollars which like the number of students in voucher programs is tiny. 

What is the future of voucher programs? As of 2015 voucher programs are state-sponsored, state-managed and state-funded programs. Some politicians, however, would like to see federal funds used for voucher programs nationwide. Why? Because their constituents are disatisfied with underperforming public schools.

What does the public education community think about vouchers? Needless to say, voucher programs in all their forms and variations are complete anathema to the teachers unions and the supporters of public education. Why? Because

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Why Would I Want to....
Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. We explore this and several more related subjects.
making a choice on crossroads

Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. Similarly many teachers flirt with the idea of teaching in a private school without delving into the matter deeply. Supporting your alma mater financially is another concept many alumni figure is somebody else's job. Of course, it isn't.


Send my child to private school?


You would want to send your child to private school for several reasons. The public schools in your area may not offer all the academic programs you want your child to have as she prepares for college a couple of years from now. The local public schools may have had to cut extracurricular activities because of financial constraints. You want your child to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Sports programs may have been cut as well. Many school districts are struggling with their budgets and that impacts academics, extracurricular activities and athletic programs across the board. Those kinds of fiscal pressures make the extras problemmatic at best. Who wouldn't want their child to be in academic surroundings where anything is possible as this short video suggests. Making the decision to send your child to private school requires some serious analysis and discussion of your aims and objectives. When we were having that discussion, we had two concerns: 1) stretching out children academically as well as providing a range of extracurricular activities and sports and 2) providing adequate supervision after school and

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
So Many Choices
When it comes to choosing a private school, there are so many choices to consider that the project can be a huge challenge to most of us. We offer some help and advice to help you get started.
As you think about sending your child to private school there are so many choices to consider that for most of us we shut down. It is simply too much to deal with all at once. That is the point of this little essay. I don't recommend dealing with all those heavy-weight questions in one pass. Take each one and work through it systematically from beginning to end. Then move on to the next question. In other words break the project up into bite-size pieces just as you do with any big project or challenge in your professional life.
Use your tablet or smart-phone to keep track of your ideas, thoughts and questions. Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote will help you share your findings and data with interested parties such as your spouse and trusted legal and financial advisers. This brief tutorial shows you how Evernote works.

OK, let's get to those big questions. Each one needs to be discussed and reviewed thoroughly. The results of your discussions will impact the next issue.
Boarding school or day school?
This fundamental question needs to be sorted out first. Why? Because the answer to it drives everything else in so many ways. I can hear some of you thinking "Boarding school? I would never think of sending my child to boarding school." Indeed you may have some legitimate concerns for not wanting to send your child to a residential school. But in the long run perhaps that is best for
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Updated June 14, 2016 |
What About a Foreign Language School?
Sending your child to a foreign language school makes good sense when you have been posted to this country from abroad and in other circumstances as well.
In the United States a foreign language private school is a school in which the primary language is not English. 80% of our population speaks English, therefore it follows that private schools which teach in other languages are few and far between.
I also want to point out the difference between a K-12 private school which uses a language other than English for teaching and intra-school communications and the proprietary schools which offer instruction in foreign languages. K-12 private schools which teach their students in German or French, for example, offer a comprehensive academic curriculum with specified goals and objectives for their graduates. The proprietary foreign language schools generally aim to have their students achieve fluency at varying levels in a foreign language. For example, you could learn how to speak Spanish in a business setting starting at a beginner's level and working your way up to advanced proficiency.

Reasons Why You Would Consider Foreign Language Schools
Now, back to our original question. Why would parents consider a foreign language school for their children? For several reasons the first of which is job-related. Let's say that you are a German national who is an executive with a German firm with locations in the United States. Your firm decides to post you overseas in the New York office. Your children are ages 10 and 12. What will you do about their schooling? You know that the posting in New York is likely to be no more than three to five years
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Occupying the special niche which they do, private schools often seem to mystify parents largely because so much misinformation exists. Hopefully this list of facts about private schools will help clear the air.
Late Night Show host David Letterman retires at the end of May 2015. With his famous Top Ten lists in mind, here is my list of Top Ten Facts About Private Schools.
10. There are schools for just about every need you can imagine.
Perhaps this should be number one on the list. In any case it is true. There are private schools for just about any need or requirement you can think of. Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. There are primary schools, K-8 schools, junior boarding schools, Roman Catholic schools, military schools, schools which offer programs for students with learning differences, schools in urban areas, schools out in the country, large schools, small schools, schools with instruction in languages other than English and on and on. With approximately 29,000 private schools in the United States the chances of your finding what you are looking for are pretty good.
9. Private schools are more affordable than you think.
Private school is an extra expense as well as being a substantial sacrifice for many families. On the other most private schools offer needs-based financial aid. The amount of aid is determined by the individual schools. Some schools even offer a tuition free education if your family financial situation is below a specific threshold.
8. Everybody participates in sports in private school.
Private schools like to say that they educate the whole child. Requiring everybody to participate in sports is one way to accomplish that goal. In most schools there is a set weekday
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