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ERIC Number: ED560001
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Pages: 46
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Pluck & Tenacity: How Five Private Schools in Ohio Have Adapted to Vouchers
Belcher, Ellen
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
State-funded voucher programs have stoked political controversy, culture clashes, and pitched court battles. Sometimes referred to as "scholarships," these vouchers enable students of limited means (or without access to a good public school) to attend a private school. Roughly 30,000 children in Ohio take advantage of a publicly funded voucher. As students flee public schools for private ones, how does life change for the private schools that accept vouchers? Can private schools coexist with a publicly-funded voucher program? Can they adapt as they educate more students from disadvantaged backgrounds? Following a foreword and executive summary by Aaron Churchill and Chad Aldis, this report explores these questions. This study finds that voucher programs are changing private schools, but at the same time, these private schools are bravely--even heroically--adapting to such changes. This report delivers a candid view of life in private schools that take voucher students. The author, former editor at the Dayton Daily News and an award-winning journalist, traveled across Ohio, visiting five schools: Three are Catholic--Immaculate Conception in Dayton; Saint Martin de Porres in Cleveland; and St. Patrick of Heatherdowns in Toledo--and two are evangelical--Eden Grove in Cincinnati and Youngstown Christian School. The case studies yield seven key takeaways about private "voucher schools": (1) They are relentlessly mission oriented, and vouchers help support their missions; (2) These private schools have kept their distinctive values (e.g., behavioral standards, religious practices); (3) The schools have become more diverse; (4) As they welcome more students who are far behind academically, these schools set high standards; (5) The schools worry--even agonize--about their academic quality; (6) Financial realities factor into the schools' decisions to take voucher students; and (7) None of the schools objected to state testing requirements. For policymakers, this report should prompt clear thinking about how to strengthen voucher programs. As the research in this report shows, some private schools are teetering financially, which is one (but not the only) reason lawmakers should consider boosting the per-pupil voucher amount. At the same time, if states make substantial public investments in private-school options, taxpayers have every reason to expect strong student outcomes. The good news is that private schools seem to understand the need for academic accountability and transparency when participating in voucher programs. An appendix includes a table that outlines the five voucher (or "scholarship") programs that Ohio has established.
Thomas B. Fordham Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Walton Family Foundation; Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Identifiers - Location: Ohio