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The myth behind privatization

May 3, 2002 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,

A few years ago, right-wing hacks thought that they had found a new way to attack public education. In 1997, Arizona, along with 20 others states, passed a program where taxpayers could earn tax breaks by donating money to help public school students attend private schools.

Right-wingers who backed such programs hailed them as aid for poor and minority students in failing schools.

But a recent study exposed the tax credit program for the scam that it is. The Arizona State University research found that: 81 percent of the money went to help parents pay tuition for students that already attended private schools; less than 1 percent of public school students were able to use the money to transfer to private schools; and the wealthiest one-quarter of public school districts received 52 percent of the money--and most of that money was used to send kids on field trips and pay for items such as band uniforms.

Jeff Bale, Washington, D.C.

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