Education Overhaul Revisions Get Mixed Reviews

May 2, 2013


The governor announced Wednesday that 8,000 children have been offered a private school voucher for the second year of the program -- 3,000 more than enrolled with this year’s inaugural crop.

The voucher program, passed last session, allows parents of low-income families to take their kids out of schools rated C, D and F and send them to private schools on the state’s dime.

The program’s funding mechanism is awaiting judgement by the State Supreme Court, as are accountability measures, another part of the overhaul.

Meanwhile, bills are popping up this session to refine the overhaul.

At a recent committee meeting, State Supt. John White retreated to familiar accusations that proponents of the revisions don’t have children’s best interests in mind.

Representative Pat Smith scolded him for his comment.

“I was very disappointed in your last statement about the fact that there were adults talking about scores and not really talking about children," Smith said, "because, from what I heard from those adults at the table is that they’re very concerned about the children.”

Bills challenging the accountability measures, by Rep. Kenny Havard and Rep. Eugene Reynolds, passed through committee. Both saw hours of debate.

Another bill by Rep. Ted James would expand choices for parents. That bill, along with Havard’s will hit the House floor on Monday.

One bill that would have limited eligibility for vouchers died in committee. Another has yet to be considered.