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Government/Politics

Former House Democratic leader says EdChoice did not have bipartisan roots

chris_redfern_election_night_2014.jpg
Statehouse News Bureau
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Chris Redfern, former Ohio Democratic Party chair and House Minority Leader.

Current and former elected officials are debating the origins of the EdChoice voucher program which is now the subject of a lawsuit.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio) says the EdChoice program that gives students taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools began as a bipartisan effort to help kids leave struggling school districts.

But Chris Redfern, the former House Minority Caucus leader, says the voucher program was never a bipartisan effort.

He says, in 2005, only one Democratic member of the House originally supported the idea. The program was eventually included in the budget bill that year and received votes from two Democrats.

"This has so little to do with classroom performance, so little to do with performance on tests or graduation rates, colleges, acceptance rates. This has to do with money, big money, and how organizations and individuals who support the privatization of public schools have rewarded Republican legislators with money," says Redfern.

Public school leaders are challenging the voucher program which is being used by more than 50,000 students.

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