Is this the beginning of the end for public schools?

States are pushing vouchers programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Your friendly neighborhood public school is facing more competition. Whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing says a lot about your politics and your faith in public education.

The vast majority of K-12 students are still enrolled at traditional public schools — 85 percent, according to the National Center on Education Statistics. But there’s been tremendous growth in recent years in the number of kids attending charters (which receive public financing but are independently run), or being home schooled.

Now lawmakers in a number of states intend to accelerate these trends. Vouchers — which allow public dollars to follow kids to private or parochial schools — have been expanded in the past couple of years in states including Louisiana, Indiana, Wisconsin and, just recently, Nevada.

For an look at the spread of vouchers and the potential impact, click on "Is this the beginning of the end for public schools?"

The DecodeDC podcast and blog are produced in the Scripps News Washington Bureau.

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