As ThinkProgress has been reporting, a handful of billionaires, right-wing foundations, think tanks, and Political Action Committees (PACs) have been waging a war on public education, seeking to install school voucher schemes across the country that funnel tax dollars to private schools and undermine public education.
While these voucher advocates have been scoring victories across the country, one state legislature rejected their vision of education outright yesterday. The South Carolina House voted 60-59 against its school voucher bill, joining the Senate Education Committee in rejecting the legislation and effectively killing it for now:
The latest plan to use tax credits to help parents send their children to private school died by slim margins Wednesday in the South Carolina House. With no debate, representatives voted 60-59 to reject the measure. In a subsequent vote of 61-59, the House refused to reconsider — officially killing the bill. It was a stunningly swift vote on the contentious issue that keeps popping up in the Legislature. The same bill was rejected a month ago by the Senate Education Committee, also with very little discussion. Senate Education Chairman John Courson said then that lawmakers knew where they stood philosophically on the issue.
“The bipartisan vote sends a very clear and resounding message that the citizens of South Carolina are not interested in abandoning our public school students,” said Paul Krohne, the executive director of the state School Boards Association, in response to the vote. “If nothing else, this issue has galvanized those of us in South Carolina — and there are thousands — who reject the abandonment philosophy.” The South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors estimated “that the bill would cost the state General Fund more than $800 million over 13 years.” Passing the voucher program at the same time the legislature cut over a hundred million dollars from the public education system would’ve amounted to a stunning transfer of taxpayer funds from public schools to private schools.