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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Education

Voucher Ballots

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As can be seen by the table below, vouchers and tax credits for private school fees do not have a great deal of public support in the US. They have been rejected in ballot after ballot. This is despite the millions of dollars that business groups and their allies have put into getting these ballots passed. In addition, polls show that most people believe that taxpayers money would be better spent reducing class sizes, improving teacher quality or increasing teacher/principle training. Only 12 percent of those surveyed in 2001 agreed that giving parents school vouchers was the best way to improve public schools.

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Voucher and Tax Credit Referenda Outcomes


State
Year
Outcome
MI
1970
57% voted against public funding of non public schools
MD
1972
55% voted against public funded scholarships for private schools
MI
1978
74% voted against constitutional changes to allow vouchers
DC
1981
89% voted against tax credits for educational expenses
UT
1988
70% voted against tax credits for educational expenses
OR
1990
67% voted against tax credits for educational expenses
CO
1992
67% voted against a government voucher system for all students
CA
1993
70% voted against a government voucher system for all students
WA
1996
64% voted against a government voucher system
CO
1998
60% voted against tax credits for educational expenses
MI
2000
69% voted against constitutional changes to allow vouchers
CA
2000
71% voted against a government voucher system
UT
2007
62% voted against a government voucher system
Source: adapted from ‘History of Failed Vouchers and Tax Credits’,
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Efforts to get education voucher plans approved by Congress also failed in 1983, 1985 and 1986. However Congressional support for vouchers grew in the late 1980s as a result of think tank and business campaigns.

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In 2004 attempts to introduce voucher legislation failed in 26 states and only succeeded for pre-school vouchers in Florida. Florida’s program was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court in 2006 because it violates a constitutional requirement that the state government provide a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools”. This followed several other court findings in other states and at the federal level that found that funding private religious schools with government-funded vouchers was unconstitutional.

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NEW! Contributers' Updates and Examples

If you have any examples or updates you would like to contribute please email them to me and I will add them here. Please give references for where you sourced the information.