May 22, 2012
Misuse of Scholarships For Religious Schools Is Widespread
State programs that offer tax credits for scholarship donations have raised millions but failed to move poor students from public to private schools.
Scholarship programs intended to help poor public-school students attend private schools are instead mostly benefiting students already enrolled in private religious schools, according to an investigation by the New York Times.
Such scholarship programs, which offer dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations, raised $350 million this year for 129,000 students in eight states, according to the Alliance for School Choice. Nine states may launch similar programs. Yet many private schools, most of which are religious, have encouraged parents of current students to apply for the scholarships, according to the NYT. This has prompted debate over the letter vs. the spirit of the laws behind the programs.
Christianity Today has reported on the school choice movement's pivot from vouchers to tax credits, as well as the recent surge in states offering school-choice programs.