News Release

Leading Equity and Education Organizations Oppose Georgia Voucher Bill

MEDIA CONTACT:  Gretchen Wright, gwright@southerneducation.org, (202) 421-5830

February 9, 2021 (Atlanta, Georgia)—The Southern Education Foundation and nine other organizations have sent a letter to the members of the Georgia House Committee on Education expressing concerns that the Georgia Educational Scholarship Act (HB60) would divert critical taxpayer dollars from public education at a time when schools can least afford to lose that money, and further perpetuate inequities.

The letter lays out four main reasons for opposing the bill:

  1. HB60 diverts resources from public school systems in need, leaving many of Georgia’s most vulnerable student populations with diminished educational opportunities.
  2. HB60 funds an educational model with no proven track record of academic success or improved outcomes for participating students.
  3. HB60 strips students of their federally guaranteed protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  4. HB60 funnels taxpayer dollars to unaccountable and unregulated private schools and other private education providers.

The letter says, in part:

We believe that authorizing a program that would divert taxpayer dollars away from our state’s public schools and toward private schools, especially after the Governor has proposed a budget that would underfund the Quality Basic Education Act for 18 of the last 20 years, represents a violation of Georgia’s constitutional mandate to fund education adequately and with a high level of priority. Article VIII, Section I of the Georgia State Constitution states, “The provision of an adequate public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia.” Yet, by positioning the state to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds and school districts to lose as much in per-pupil funding for public schools, HB60 perpetuates unequal opportunities for the state’s public school students while advancing a proposal that has no evidence of improving academic achievement.

Other organizations that signed onto the letter are:

  • Georgia Association of Educators
  • Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
  • Intercultural Development Research Association
  • Public Education Matters
  • Georgia Coalition for Public Education
  • South DeKalb Improvement Association Education
  • Southern Education Foundation
  • SPLC Action Fund
  • Urban League of Greater Atlanta

The Southern Education Foundation has also written an analysis on the impact of the Georgia Educational Scholarship Act on Georgia students, particularly students of color and students from low-income families.

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Originally founded in 1867 to educate African American children and children from low-income families in the South, the Southern Education Foundation was a pivotal source of research and data to support legislation and litigation aimed at fighting inequity in education during the civil rights era. The organization today conducts leadership development, research, and advocacy to improve educational opportunities for low-income students and students of color and achieve educational equity in the Southern U.S. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Find out more at https://southerneducation.org