The public common school ensures that all children have the opportunity to participate in the educational opportunities required by the state and provided by the local communities. It is interesting that the 1802 Ohio Constitution had a provision that no law shall be passed that would prohibit the poor from an equal participation in government-supported schools.
Private schooling, at the expense of individuals who choose such, has always been permitted. Early in Ohio history some parents chose to opt their children out of any formal schooling. But the state, during decades of struggling with the attendance issue, made formal education compulsory.
Some private school providers started to demand public funding for private schools soon after the 1851 constitutional provision for the common school. Ohio lawmakers resisted public funding for private schools until the late 1960s when the fair bus bill passed. This bill required school districts to provide transportation for students attending private schools. State funding for auxiliary services and administrative cost reimbursement for private schools soon followed. And then, in the early 1990s, the first voucher program was enacted. Expansion of voucher programs and publicly-funded private schools, known as charters, followed.
Ohio taxpayers fund private education entities to the tune of $1.5 billion per year. Public funding of “privates” disenfranchises a segment of the community from the public system.
The retreat from the public system causes a myriad of problems for the state and local communities such as:
*Inefficient use of public tax resources by funding multiple systems
*Reduction in the core constituency that support the public common school system
*Segregation of students
*Stratification of communities
*Conflict between the public system and the private alternatives
*Competition for public tax resources
*Corporatization of the charter sector which diverts resources slated for classrooms to marketing, political campaigns, profits, etc.
*Fraud and corruption in the unregulated charter sector
*On the average, lower academic performance and graduation rates in the private sector compared to the common school
In general, school choice at public expense inflicts harm on communities, school districts, parents and students, and taxpayers.
The common good is compromised by choice policies which divert funds and students from the community common schools.
~William Phillis, Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding