April 5, 2017 10:07 pm

Understanding the Privatization State Report Card Ratings

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 The Privatization State Report Card is a rating system designed to let the public know what privatization programs exist in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is a simple system. We rated each state on whether or not it allows the following:

Charter Schools: Charter schools are privately owned and managed schools that are funded by the taxpayers. Some are directly funded by the state. Others receive “tuition” from the student’s home district in an amount similar to the district per pupil spending. The color red (1 point) means that the state has charter schools.

Charter Authority Outside District: Some states permit only school districts to authorize charters. It is the district that identifies the need for the charter and supervises and monitors it.

Other states grant authority outside of the district thus allowing district decisions to be overturned by a State or other governmental board. Some states allow other authorizers to grant and supervise charters anywhere in the state. The color red (1 point) means that charters can be authorized and managed outside of the district.

Virtual Charter Schools are charter schools in which all or nearly all of the instruction is provided through the internet, and pupils and teachers are geographically remote from each other. The color red (1 point) means that virtual charter schools are allowed to provide instruction, grant credit and issue diplomas in the state.

Vouchers are payments made to private schools to finance all or part of a K-12 student’s education. The color red (1 point) means that the state issues vouchers.

Tax Credit Subsidies for Private Schools exist when the state allows taxpayers to pay into a fund specifically designed to issue money to a private school in order to reduce or eliminate a student’s tuition. That donation becomes a credit that reduces the state taxes paid by the donor. The fund is privately or publicly managed for a fee. Tax Credits are a way to avoid breaking state laws regarding taxpayer contributions to religious schools. The color red (1 point) means that the state has one or more tax credit programs. Tax credits are voucher system in disguise.

ESA Voucher Programs: ESAs go by a variety of names including Education Savings Accounts, Educational Opportunity Scholarships, Gardiner Scholarship Programs and others. They are another form of voucher. Money is placed into a savings account or on a debit card for parents to spend on approved educational activities or settings, as long as the parent agrees to withdraw her child from the public school. Money can be spent on homeschooling costs, virtual schools, private schools or educational materials. The color red (1 point) means that the state has an ESA program.

Grades to states are assigned as followed:

0 points A
1 point B
2 points C
3 points D
4 – 6 points  F

To find out which states have the above features of privatization (eg, charter schools), click on the feature on the table on the right of the map. If the state turns red, it does. If it is gray, it does not.

Learn more about all of the above and how privatization undermines our neighborhood public schools by reading our toolkit: School Privatization Explained.