Fate of Stam school privatization scheme rests with Berger

It looks like the fate of House Majority Leader Paul Stam’s tax credit/voucher scheme to divert funding from public schools to unaccountable private and religious schools is now up to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

House leaders added Stam’s privatization scheme to Berger’s reform plan that came before the House Education Committee last night but it’s hard not to think the issue will ultimately be resolved in the secret budget negotiations between the House and Senate.

The Senate budget also includes Berger’s full reform plan, which has problems of its own, while the House budget set aside money for Stam’s scheme.

The obvious and scary possibility is that the the compromise budget will include Berger’s plan, or at least part of it, and Stam’s backdoor voucher proposal.

It’s hard to know exactly where Berger stands on the tax credit/voucher idea. The AP story reports that Berger didn’t say how he feels about it and a WRAL.com report  quotes him as saying he doesn’t oppose it and that it will not harm public schools.

That’s not very encouraging. Here are a couple of recent national stories about the tax credit scheme currently operating in several states and the privatization efforts in Louisiana, one from the New York Times and one from Reuters.

Let’s hope Sen. Berger reads them before he agrees to a final budget that includes what his own school superintendent calls a full out assault on public education.

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