President Donald Trump wants to siphon billions of dollars from public schools to fund private and religious school vouchers. It’s an idea that’s bad for kids, public education and our democracy.

Today, vouchers are used by less than 1 percent of the nation’s students. Trump and his Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, want to change that. Trump’s new budget proposal would make historic cuts to federal education spending, while diverting $1 billion into voucher programs–a “down payment” on his oft-repeated $20 billion voucher pledge.

We believe the president’s plan would deal a terrible blow to public schools and to the 90 percent of America’s children who attend them, while doing almost nothing to benefit children who receive vouchers.

Although our organizations have sparred and disagreed over the years, such is the danger to public schooling posed by Trump’s embrace of vouchers that we are speaking out together on this issue. The Trump-DeVos effort to push vouchers, or something equivalent through tax credits, threatens the promise and purpose of America’s great equalizer, public education.

Next page: The authors outline how the voucher program would hurt public education

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