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10th Period: Ohio Data: Vouchers Re-Segregate Schools

The Ohio Department of Education has made available for the first time in a relatively accessible format the racial breakdowns of students taking vouchers and which districts they are coming from. The data prove pretty emphatically that EdChoice is re-segregating our schools. Here are some datapoints for you to consider:

  • Of the 95 Ohio school districts that had more than 10 students take vouchers, 76 of those districts saw larger percentages of White students take them than the district’s percentage of White students overall.

 

  • Those 76 districts accounted for more than 87% of the vouchers given out this school year.

  • The average difference between the percentage of White students in the district and White students taking EdChoice vouchers was 57% among the 95 districts. That means that, on average, a student taking an EdChoice voucher is about 57% more likely to be White than the district they leave.

  • The average difference among the 76 districts where voucher recipients were more likely to be White was a staggering 76.2%.

  • Nearly 1 in every 3 EdChoice vouchers handed out this year come from districts whose voucher recipients are about twice as likely to be White than the district. About 1/2 of all EdChoice vouchers this year come from districts whose voucher recipients are 75% more likely to be White than the district overall.

 

No wonder voucher proponents are so touchy about the EdChoice voucher lawsuit’s racial segregation argument.

Some of the differences are stunning.

Take Princeton City in Hamilton County. The district is 22.8% White, but of the 265 students taking vouchers from Princeton, 246 are White — a 92.8% rate.

Or Sandusky, which is 38.8% White. That district’s voucher recipients are 78.7% White.

Cincinnati? That district is 23.7% White. Its voucher recipients are 46.5% White — nearly double the percentage.

Here are the 25 districts where voucher recipients are more than 50% likely to be White than the district overall.

There are only two districts that lose significant numbers of students to EdChoice vouchers where a smaller percentage of White students take the vouchers than there are in the district. Akron and Canton. Akron is 33.2% White and its voucher recipients are 27% White. In Canton, the district is 41.6% White and its recipients are 26.4% White.

However, those percentage differences (12% and 36%, respectively) aren’t nearly as significant as the differences in the other direction.

Which means that even in the 11.5% of districts where EdChoice does offer greater opportunities for minority students to attend private schools, EdChoice does so at a far less significant rate than in the 80% of districts where EdChoice allows greater rates of white students to access private schools.

These data are bad for voucher proponents because it is extremely compelling evidence that EdChoice constitutes state-sponsored racial segregation of our schools. And Ohio lawmakers have known since 2002 that this was the case, as Policy Matters reported on the original voucher program in Cleveland, which became the blueprint for the EdChoice voucher.

It’ll be interesting to see how lawmakers who want to turn our school funding system over to a vouchers everywhere system come down on ensuring racial equity given how the EdChoice program seems to fly in the face of the Brown v Board of Education case that even the most conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices have testified is among the nation’s most important and controlling legal cases.

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Stephen Dyer

Stephen Dyer is the Education Policy Fellow at Innovation Ohio. He also practices law in the Akron, Ohio area. Previously he was the State Representative fo...