To the editor:

Tax funds spent on education in the U.S. accumulate to three quarters of a trillion dollars annually. Any large pool of money attracts those who have an appetite for riches. Also such largess is appealing to those who are seeking to maintain or advance their own philosophical, ideological and/or religious views at someone else's expense.

Until about the 1980s, tax money for public education was assigned to the constitutionally-required public system in each state. Citizens understood that public funds for public education were assigned to school districts operated by the communities.

But after the greatly-flawed Nation at Risk report was issued in 1983, many politicians used this defective document to denigrate public schools and thus undermine public confidence in the system. Public schools were blamed (and still are) for not being able to cure all the ills of society-crime, illegal drugs, poverty, etc.; thus alternatives were created and advanced.

The "new" alternatives were deregulated but funded by the public. Charter schools and vouchers became the darlings of presidents of both parties, Congress and state officials in many states.

These new deregulated arrangements were particularly attractive to private school operators and profit-seeking entrepreneurs and corporations. Many in the philanthropic community jumped on board to provide fiscal and moral support.

This new deregulated school industry is riddled with fiscal fraud and corruption and, in general, provides less educational opportunities for millions of students in the nation.

Ohio is a poster child for an experiment run amok. But Ohio is not alone as the Orlando Sentinel investigation in Florida reveals. Read more in Scott Maxwell's column at:

William Phillis
Ohio E&A