Nebraska is one of few states that have no charter or voucher schools. The state puts all their tax money into building strong neighborhood schools. Recently the The Nebraska State Education Association sat down with the state's major newspaper and explained why this is so: 1. Nebraska cannot afford to finance private education as well as public education. There would be only two ways to pay for vouchers—take money from already underfunded public schools or raise taxes. Both are unacceptable. 2. Tax dollars for private education won’t fix student achievement challenges at public schools. The best way to assist all low-performing students is by strengthening public schools and addressing individual learning problems directly. Vouchers will siphon tax dollars away from our public schools where children have the greatest needs. 3. A voucher would be a ticket to nowhere for most children. Private schools can choose to accept or reject any student, and many have long waiting lists and only admit top students. On average, parochial schools reject 67 percent of all applicants. Other private schools reject nearly 90 percent of applicants. “Choice” does not reside with parents but with private school admissions committees. 4. Parents have an expanding array of choices for the public school their child attends. Among the many public school options available in Nebraska, parents may choose to send their child to another public school in the same or different school district, or enroll their child in various public academy schools, focus or magnet schools, career academies, or other public alternative schools. 5. Vouchers don’t create a “competitive marketplace.” Competition is based on an even playing field; there is no fair competition when “competitors” play by different rules. Public schools accept all applicants, private schools don’t. Private schools are not required to provide transportation, special education, bilingual education, free and reduced price lunches, and many other programs that public schools provide. They are also not required to meet even basic state certification or accreditation requirements. 6. The State of Nebraska should not spend tax dollars to pilot test a bad idea. Tax-funded pilot projects should only be conducted to test good ideas. Vouchers are a bad idea! A pilot voucher program would not be a “lifeboat” for some students, as claimed. A voucher system would be the Titanic, draining needed funds from public schools where most students would remain. 7. Vouchers would destroy the “private” in private schools. Parents of children in private schools don’t want the status quo disturbed for their children—they want their schools to be truly private. Private schools accepting tax-funded vouchers or private school tax credit schemes would become subject to government regulation. Allowing public tax dollars to be spent on private schools would be mean private schools would have to change admission requirements, implement state-required testing, certification and accreditation, comply with discipline and expulsion laws, and allow voucher students to be exempted from religious activities. 8. Inserting the word “private” doesn’t make a school good. There is no proof that private school vouchers would improve students’ academic performance. In fact, students attending private schools under the Milwaukee, Cleveland and other private school voucher programs did not outperform their public school peers. 9. Vouchers would promote further religious and economic stratification in our society. Private elementary and secondary schools have been founded primarily by two types of entities: (1) religious denominations seeking to teach academics interwoven with their religious doctrine; and (2) wealthier parents seeking to give their children an advantage over other children. Tax-funded vouchers for private schools would increase divisions between rich and poor and among different religions, threatening the future of our American democracy. 10. Public policy should respect parental choice but provide for all students. The best public policy is to provide parents with even more choices within the public schools, which serve more than 90 percent of the children in Nebraska. Nebraska legislators should concentrate on making all public schools stronger, safer, more challenging and accountable. Public tax dollars should be spent only to improve public schools—not to assist the small number of parents who choose to enroll their children in private schools.