June 15, 2013 Notre Dame Parental Choice Symposium
States with Publicly-Funded Private School Choice Programs DE MD GA VA UT RI CT NJ DC NM FL AZ NV LA CO WY SC IA WI IN OH PA NH IL VT CA ND MI AL ID SD NE MT WA OR KS OK TX AR MO MN NY ME NC WV MA KY TN MS HI AK
35 Publicly-Funded Private School Choice Programs
Voucher Programs In a voucher program, the public funds that would have been spent on a child’s behalf at a public school follow that child to the private school of their parents’ choice.
35 Publicly-Funded Private School Choice Programs
Scholarship Tax Credit Programs In a scholarship tax credit program, individuals or corporations donate funds to a charitable organization that provides scholarships for children to attend the private school of their parent’s choice. In turn, the state gives these donors a tax credit worth up to 100% of their contribution. Note: The scholarships are provided using private funds.
35 Publicly-Funded Private School Choice Programs
Parental Tax Credit Programs In a parental tax credit program, the state provides parents who send their children to private schools with a tax credit that reimburses them for some of the costs for educating their children. Note: Middle class and wealthier parents are most able to benefit from a parental tax credit unless the tax credits are made refundable.
35 Publicly-Funded Private School Choice Programs
Education Savings Accounts In an ESA program, the state puts funds that would have been spent on the child’s behalf at a public school into an account that the parents control. The parents may spend the money as they see fit on their child’s education. Note: ESA’s give parents the greatest amount of choice in designing their child’s education. In fact, unspent funds can be saved to pay for college.
Legislative Progress for School Choice Legislation Number of states that have passed legislation out of at least one chamber Number of chambers that have passed choice legislation
DE MD GA VA UT RI CT NJ DC NM FL AZ NV LA CO WY SC IA WI IN OH PA NH IL VT CA ND MI AL ID SD NE MT WA OR KS OK TX AR MO MN NY ME NC WV MA KY TN MS HI AK Passed ONE Legislative House Passed TWO Legislative Houses 10 2 Legislative Progress 2013
Greatest Opportunity in the Future Growing Democratic Support
Democratic Support in 2006 STATELEGISLATIONGOVERNORHOUSESENATE AZ Individual Scholarship Tax Credit ImprovementsDemocratRepublican Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit EnactedDemocratRepublican Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit ExpandedDemocratRepublican Vouchers for Foster Children EnactedDemocratRepublican Vouchers for Special Needs Students EnactedDemocratRepublican FLAccountability and Voucher FixRepublican OHEligibility Expansion for Ed Choice ScholarshipsRepublican IAIndividual Scholarship Tax Credit EnactedDemocratRepublicanDem/Rep Tie PACorporate Scholarship Tax Credit ExpandedDemocratRepublican RICorporate Scholarship Tax Credit EnactedRepublicanDemocrat UTImprovement to Special Needs VoucherRepublican WIMPCP Expansion and AccountabilityDemocratRepublican
Democratic Support Growing Between 2006-2010, a majority of the school choice bills enacted into law had the support of a Democratic Governor or a Democratic Legislative house. Since 2006, seven Democratic Governors have enacted fifteen school choice bills. Since 2006, 14 legislative chambers with Democratic majorities adopted school choice bills.
Democratic legislative majorities that approved school choice bills Democratic HouseDemocratic Senate Rhode Island Iowa Pennsylvania Louisiana Indiana US House Rhode Island Iowa New Mexico Louisiana Maryland Oklahoma (Tied) Illinois US Senate
Continued Progress with Democrats since 2010 In Florida, 46% of the Democrats voted to dramatically expand the scholarship tax credit program. Plus, an expansion of the special needs scholarship program was authored by Democrats in both houses—and passed with a majority of Democrats on board.
Continued Progress with Democrats since 2010 In the 2010 Pennsylvania race for Governor, both the Republican and Democratic nominees supported a voucher proposal by Democratic State Senator Anthony Williams.
Continued Progress with Democrats since 2010 In North Carolina in 2011, a special needs education tax credit passed the House 94-20 and the Senate 44-5 with 65% of the Democrats voting in favor. In 2013, the statewide voucher legislation was authored by two Democrats and two Republicans. In 2013, the House passed a special needs voucher unanimously.
Continued Progress with Democrats since 2010 In Iowa in 2013, both house of the legislature passed an expansion of their scholarship tax credit program unanimously. In Louisiana, the legislature created a statewide voucher program with a strong bi-partsan vote. In Ohio, Democratic votes helped keep a new statewide voucher program in the budget and two Democrats are the authors of a new scholarship tax credit proposal. In Rhode Island, the Democratic Speaker Pro Tem is the author of a statewide voucher proposal.
Continued Progress with Democrats since 2010 In Washington DC in 2011, President Obama signed a 5 year extension and a major expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program as part of the bipartisan budget agreement.
Diane Feinstein (CA) Joseph Lieberman (CT) Bill Nelson (FL) Mark Warner (VA) Robert Byrd (WV) Democratic U. S. Senators Who Voted for DC Vouchers
Continued Progress with Democrats since 2010 “What is everybody scared of? The real goal of education, ought to be to provide a number of different choices for youngsters so you can see where they learn best and then enable them to be in that situation." Senator Diane Feinstein U. S. Senate Floor Debate March 22, 2010
Dr. Patrick J. Wolf Principal Investigator for US DOEd Study "The D.C. voucher program has proven to be the most effective education policy evaluated by the federal government's official education research arm so far.“ (2009) The Research is In
Lessons Learned Most initial school choice victories come as part of a larger legislative package or deal—not as separate legislation.
States with Publicly-Created Private School Choice Programs DE MD GA VA UT RI CT NJ DC NM FL AZ NV LA CO WY SC IA WI IN OH PA NH IL VT CA ND MI AL ID SD NE MT WA OR KS OK TX AR MO MN NY ME NC WV MA KY TN MS HI AK
Lessons Learned Republican control is not necessary or sufficient for success.
Role of GOP in Initial School Choice Victories StateYearGovernorHouseSenate Wisconsin1990RepublicanDemocrat Ohio1995Republican Arizona1997Republican Florida1999Republican Pennsylvania2001Republican Washington, DC 2004Republican*Republican Utah2005Republican Iowa2006DemocratRepublicanRep/Dem** Rhode Island2006RepublicanDemocrat Georgia2007Republican Louisiana2008RepublicanDemocrat Indiana2009RepublicanDemocratRepublican Oklahoma2010DemocratRepublicDemocrat North Carolina2011DemocratRepublican Virginia2012Republican * Obviously, in the case of the federal government, the chief executive is the President. ** In Iowa, the Republicans and Democrats were tied in the Senate but the Senate Democrat Leader was the key advocate for school choice.
Lessons Learned Gubernatorial leadership is valuable but it is no longer required for success.
Lessons Learned The most recent victories in these states were legislatively driven: Arizona Florida Georgia Iowa Oklahoma New Hampshire Alabama
Lessons Learned There are many paths to success. Pick the one that is right for your state.
Initial School Choice Victory DateStateLegislationProgram Type 1990WIMilwaukee Parental Choice ProgramVoucher 1995OHCleveland Scholarship and Tutoring ProgramVoucher 1997AZIndividual School Tuition Organization Tax CreditScholarship Tax Credit 1999FLA+ Opportunity Scholarship ProgramVoucher 2001PAEducational Improvement Tax CreditScholarship Tax Credit 2004DCOpportunity Scholarship ProgramVoucher 2005UTCarson Smith Special Needs ScholarshipSpecial Needs Voucher 2006IAIndividual School Tuition Organization Tax CreditScholarship Tax Credit 2006RICorporate Scholarship Tax Credit ProgramScholarship Tax Credit 2007GASpecial Needs Scholarship ProgramSpecial Needs Voucher 2008LA Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program (New Orleans) Voucher 2009INCorporate and Individual Scholarship Tax Credit ProgramScholarship Tax Credit 2010OKLindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with DisabilitiesSpecial Needs Voucher 2011NCTax Credits for Children with DisabilitiesParental Tax Credit 2012VAEducation Improvement Scholarships Tax CreditsScholarship Tax Credit 2012MSDyslexia Therapy Scholarship ProgramSpecial Needs Voucher
Lessons Learned In America, where you start does not determine where you can end up.
Birth Order in States with Multiple Programs StateDateProgramType Arizona1997Individual School Tuition Organization Tax CreditScholarship Tax Credit 2006Corporate School Tuition Organization Tax CreditScholarship Tax Credit 2006Scholarship for Pupils with DisabilitiesSpecial Needs Voucher 2006Displaced Pupils Choice Grant ProgramVoucher 2011Arizona Empowerment Scholarship AccountsEducation Savings Account Florida1999A+ Scholarship ProgramVoucher 1999John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with DisabilitiesSpecial Needs Voucher 2001Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit ProgramScholarship Tax Credit Ohio1995Scholarship and Tutoring ProgramVoucher 2003Autism Scholarship ProgramSpecial Needs Voucher 2006Educational Choice Scholarship ProgramVoucher Georgia2007Georgia Special Needs Scholarship ProgramSpecial Needs Voucher 2008Corporate and Individual Scholarship Tax Credit ProgramScholarship Tax Credit Louisiana2008Student Scholarships for Educational ExcellenceVoucher 2010 School Choice Pilot Program for Students with Exceptionalities Special Needs Voucher 2012Scholarship Tax Rebate ProgramScholarship Tax Credit
Legislative Trends The laboratories of democracy are creating new versions of private school choice: Foster ChildrenPre-K Failing SchoolsAutism DyslexiaMilitary Families And now, Education Savings Accounts!
49 Our Most Effective Messages #1 Every child has the right to a good education. It is a civil right of every child to have the opportunity to receive a quality education. (LA - 97%) It shouldn’t matter what neighborhood a child lives in or how much money their parents make. All children should have an equal opportunity to get the same quality education. (LA -97%) Every child should have the same opportunity for a quality education regardless of the parent’s financial situation. (MO – 93%)
50 Our Most Effective Messages #2 Children shouldn’t have to wait for their local school to get better. “Vouchers provide an immediate path for children from low income families in failing schools to access a better education.” 74% Likely Voters79% Latino Voters “Opportunity scholarship programs give children from low income families a way out of failing schools so they are not forced to wait indefinitely for their local schools to improve. Students should not be sentenced to a poor education based upon their zip code.” 70% Likely Voters 74% Latino Voters
51 Our Most Effective Messages #3 More options will help reduce the dropout rate. “America is facing a massive dropout crisis. We need all options on the table to help every child graduate from high school. More parental choices will reduce the dropout rate.” 66% Likely Voters73% Latino Voters
52 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #1 School choice steals resources from traditional public schools. “Vouchers take money from public schools and give it to private and religious schools. Schools cannot improve if they are forced to make do with less valuable resources each year.” 47% Likely Voters58% Latino Voters
53 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #1 School choice steals resources from traditional public schools. Potential Responses Factual Response: Actually, studies have shown that school choice programs save money and therefore there is more money left per student in the public schools. Emotional Response: We are making a public investment in the future of every child no matter which school their parent chooses. The money belongs to the families and not the schools.
54 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #2 School choice programs are not accountable. “Private schools do not have the same accountability or standards as public schools. We need more transparency in public schools, not a separate system that is exempt from the rules.” 48% Likely Voters44% Latino Voters
55 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #2 School choice programs are not accountable. Potential Responses Factual Response: By law, school choice programs must provide taxpayers with financial and academic accountability. Emotional Response: The strictest accountability comes from giving parents the ability to choose which school their child attends. If the private school doesn’t do a good job, the parent can take their money to some other school. Public schools that do a bad job never close.
56 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #3 Vouchers are unconstitutional. “Vouchers are a back door way to use tax dollars to pay for Catholic schools and other religious schools and are a violation of the separation of church and state. Taxpayers should not have to pay for the religious education of other students.” 45% Likely Voters47% Latino Voters
57 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #3 Vouchers are unconstitutional. Potential Responses Factual Response: Both the US Supreme Court and the Arizona Supreme Court have found school choice programs to be constitutional.
58 What the Public Doesn’t Know The public does not know that the US Constitution allows public funds to be used to attend private schools. When told of the U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting this, they overwhelmingly support it
59 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #4 School choice programs help the best kids escape and leave the public schools worse. “Vouchers only work to move motivated students and parents out of public schools and into private ones. This further diminishes the quality of public schools, leaving the schools in a worse situation than they were before.” 43% Likely Voters48% Latino Voters
60 Our Opponent’s Most Effective Arguments #4 School choice programs help the best kids escape and leave the public schools worse. Potential Responses Factual Response: Actually, studies have shown that kids who are failing in school or poor are the ones most likely to use school choice to leave their public school. Emotional Response: Common sense tells you parents won’t take their child out of a public school where all the friends go if they are doing well. They will only make that choice if the school is failing them.
The scholarship should be large enough so families can afford a wide range of choices. We suggest the scholarship should be tied to school costs not school tuition. Legislators may wish to means-test the scholarship amount.
Drafting Effective School Choice Legislation The school choice program must be large enough to create a vigorous market of consumers (students) and producers (schools). There must be enough students and schools in a geographically concentrated area to produce a well-functioning competitive market. Milwaukee has over 20,000 students choosing from 127 private schools in a single city.
Drafting Effective School Choice Legislation The scholarship should make the public or private school of choice affordable for all parents. Experience suggests that most families do not have the financial ability to choose private schooling until the family income reaches about $75,000. Do not make the income eligibility guidelines too low. We recommend that states determine program eligibility using a multiple of the national income guidelines for the Free and Reduced Price lunch program.
Drafting Effective School Choice Legislation The market needs stability/certainty to thrive. Make sure that a child‘s qualification for the program lasts for the length of their schooling. Avoid creating “pilot programs” or program sunsets.
Drafting Effective School Choice Legislation Require administrative, financial and academic accountability. As stewards of public funds, legislators should rightly require financial and administrative accountability for participating schools. Academic accountability is best achieved by providing clear and consistent information about the academic performance of participating students to both parents and policymakers. Educational achievement (Testing) Educational attainment (Continuation, Graduation, College Acceptance and Attendance, etc.)
Drafting Effective School Choice Legislation The program should make it easy for families and schools to participate. Application and eligibility demonstration should be simple for parents and public financing mechanics should be simple for schools. Vouchers are the best financing mechanism for both schools and parents. Tax credits should be refundable and assignable.
How to Lobby the Legislature Contact Them. Legislators are often like the Maytag repairman. If they get a dozen calls or letters on an issue it’s like a revolt. You have more clout than you know. There are some exceptions, but on most issues legislators get almost no contacts from real people.
How to Lobby the Legislature Contact Them. The more personal the contact the better. Legislators get pretty good at ignoring pre-printed postcards and form letters. Individual letters, personal calls or visits carry much more weight.
How to Lobby the Legislature The Legislative Hotline Number is Not 911. Don’t call only when you’re in trouble. Establish a personal relationship. Invite your legislator on a tour. Show up at office hours Show up at the legislator’s events Volunteer to work with your legislator
How to Lobby the Legislature The Facts Beat Money or Drinks. Establish credibility through your existing relationship. Present your case in a well-summarized factual way. Never lie. Credibility is hard to gain but very easy to lose.
How to Lobby the Legislature The Facts Beat Money or Drinks. Anticipate problems and responses. Show that you understand the choice your lawmaker faces. Look for ways to develop solutions not to identify problems. (Be a problem solver not another problem.)
How to Lobby the Legislature Don’t Threaten. Be Polite. “I will never vote for you again.” or “I will organize a campaign against you.” are not things that will make lawmakers eager to work with you in the future. If you burn bridges, don’t expect to use them in the future. Despite today’s disagreement you will want or need to work together on another issue tomorrow.
How to Lobby the Legislature Help Legislators to Succeed and to Look Good. Make it in your legislator’s self-interest to work with you. Use things like ribbon cuttings, check presentations, newsletters, organization meetings, etc. as a way to give recognition to lawmakers working with you.
How to Lobby the Legislature You Must be Present to Win. Labor and Environmental groups often beat business groups at the state capitol because business folks view politics as a dirty business to be avoided, labor and environmentalists see it as a way to achieve their goals. You are able to see impacts of legislation that legislators might miss. If you are involved and engaged you can head off bad changes before they happen.
How to Lobby the Legislature You Must be Present to Win. The most effective presence you can have at the Capitol is to have one of your folks elected to office. There is no substitute for being the “person in the room’ when decisions are being made.
How to Lobby the Legislature Say Thank You. The two rarest words in politics are “thank you.” Legislators are human. If they hear “thank you” from you when they do something right, they are more likely to listen to the criticism from you when they do something wrong.