I didn't write this, but I endorse it and I like it. It's clear and concise and research-based. It was compiled by a Utah group opposing vouchers, but you will see links for more detailed information/studies.
VOUCHER MYTHS AND FACTS
Myth #1: Taxpayers will save money under a voucher system.
The claim that vouchers will save the state money rely crucially on the assumption that a large number of students will switch from public to private schools, easing overcrowding and reducing construction costs and fixed expenses. Is there any historical basis for this assumption? The dramatic shifts in student enrollment promised by voucher and tuition tax credit activists have never materialized when voucher or tax credit systems are put in place, and NO STATE HAS SAVED MONEY BY PROVIDING VOUCHERS OR TUITION TAX CREDITS.
A Utah State University study, "Estimating Demand and Supply Response to Tuition Tax Credits for Private School Tuition in Utah" (November 2004) estimated that fewer than one-half of the parents projected to use tuition tax credits would be "switchers" from public to private schools. In addition, the study states "Historically, the parent decisions to send their children to private schools in Utah has little, if anything, to do with price." In other words, a parent's decision to send a child to private school is unlikely to be changed by the availability of public subsidies.
Regardless of the number of students initially switching from public to private schools, each year more students who use vouchers will be those WHO NEVER ATTENDED PUBLIC SCHOOLS and who NEVER WOULD HAVE ATTENDED PUBLIC SCHOOLS. When the program is completely phased in, the state will be providing vouchers for every private school student in the state. With 96% of Utah students attending public schools-and enrollment projected to increase to 600, 000 by 2012-Utah taxpayers can expect to spend money on new schools AND on subsidizing private schools. Legislative fiscal analysts project no savings from the voucher program. By their estimates, vouchers will COST THE TAXPAYERS MORE THAN $450 MILLION OVER THE NEXT THIRTEEN YEARS.
Myth #2: Private school students perform better than their public school counterparts.
All objective studies (such as the 2006 U.S. Department of Education study and the 2001 U.S. General Accounting Office study) find NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCES in the performance of public and private school students.
Myth #3: A healthy dose of competition will improve public schools.
A number of studies funded by voucher advocates have PROJECTED improvements in public schools due to competition with voucher schools. However, such studies generally factor out any other reforms-and any other motivations for reforms-in comparable schools or districts.
In Milwaukee, for example, pro-voucher studies credit voucher competition for improvements in milwaukee Public Schools. THese claims ignore the state-supported Student Achievement Guarantee in education (SAGE) program, which provided resources to reduce class size and enhance professional development.
Two decades ago, Chicago's public school system was considered among the worst in the country. After investing in pre-school programs, after-school programs, and summer school, the city is now widely recognized as having made great strides in student achievement.
In short, it's research-based reforms, not competition, that make the difference.
Myth #4: Parental choice is the same as accountability.
Despite the right and ability of parents to remove their children from private schools, many dysfunctional voucher schools have continued to operate year after year. Schools in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Florida provide frightening examples of abuse, fraud, and academic inadequacy. For a look at some of the ways tax dollars have been squandered, see the National School Boards Association's report "Why Vouchers Are a Bad Idea." (Find the report on the web at http://www.nsba.org/site/page.asp?TRACKID=&SID=1&VID=1&CID=1490&DID=33735)
Utah's voucher program requires NO ACCOUNTABILITY from private schools for the public funds they receive. It provides fewer protections (for students and taxpayers) than the scandal-ridden programs in other states.