Virginia tax credits for private K-12 should not pass

Tax credits for K-12 private school attendance is a bad idea. Remember that a tax credit is actually a payment of money from the public purse. Taxes are collected across the income strata, and public schools are funded from taxes. This legislation shuttles public money to private purses, essentially giving another tax break to people who do not need it. I am opposed to it for two reasons:

  • While it is true that getting a good education should not depend on your zip code,this legislation will do just that. It will establish a two-tiered quasi-public school system in which the state, using tax money from everyone, will support private schools for some children and a lower tier of public schools for others. This is contrary to any sense of equal opportunity.
  • This legislation purports to give poor children entry into private schools. If it is passed, I do not believe that the school populations will change. The private schools need only raise their tuition to absorb the public money that will flow into them, and poor and middle-class children will still attend public schools.
  • We cannot afford to abandon Virginia’s duty to all of our children, to educate them all — this is a foundation stone of democracy, and an absolute necessity for the 21st century. We need to educate all of Virginia’s children, not just those in certain zip codes or certain economic levels. Fix the public schools, don’t make them a ghetto.

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