Private Schools: We Weren’t Told

Proposals to let direct public money to privately run schools (through parents) are drawing a lot of attention in Kansas.

So what do the private schools have to say?

According to the Salina Journal, they haven’t been asked.

One school official said “I was a little surprised” to hear of the proposal to let low-income families in poorly-performing districts take up to $5,000 in vouchers to private schools.

Some schools expressed doubts: “I’ve never seen government money that didn’t have strings attached.” And yet the Supreme Court of the U.S. has ruled (in a case involving Ohio) that there is no constitutional barrier to public funds going to private schools–as long as parents, not public officials, determine where the money goes.

It would be up to legislators to make sure that any “strings” attached to public money would be minimal.

While the concern for strings is real, it should not be exaggerated. Many private colleges, for example, accept Pell Grants and state funds all the time.

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