The Voucher Scam

The Voucher Scam

The Voucher Scam is an exposé on one of the most critical issues facing public education today - education vouchers. As Texas leadership pushes an aggressive voucher agenda that would privatize and defund public schools, The Voucher Scam gives listeners a behind-the-scenes look at what's really at stake. The Voucher Scam podcast is a four-episode series hosted by Claire Campos-O’Neal and Nichole Abshire and brought to you by the Mothers for Democracy Institute (M4DI). Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


October 3, 2023 2 mins

Texas Governor Abbott is fast-tracking vouchers to destabilize public education as soon as this fall 2023. The Voucher Scam won't just explain the voucher threat, it will reveal the motivations behind this attack on a cornerstone of democracy and equality. We aim to give the public the truth before it's too late. 

We know that we can stop vouchers if we work together. We can use your help. Please leave us a review. Tell a f...

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What exactly is an education voucher? Why does it have so many names? How do parents feel about this program? Will public schools be impacted? How come Gov. Abbott dedicates so much political capital to promoting vouchers?

Looking for our resource guide? Click here.

Guest interviews:

Jeanne, a mother of three who lived through the rise of vouchers in Indiana

Dax Gonzalez, a policy expert at the Texas Association of School Boar...

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We spoke to Beth Lewis and Nicky Indicavitch from Save Our Schools Arizona about the state of public education in Arizona. Arizona has a universal voucher program despite the public overwhelmingly voting against it when it came on the ballot. Beth fills us in on the struggles that teachers face as they experience a years-long defunding of public education. Nicky reveals what witnessing that process felt like as a parent watching he...

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October 19, 2023 33 mins

Chris Tackett wanted to serve his Granbury, Texas community. After years of leading the local baseball/softball association to a good place, he focused those skills on his local school board. He was excited to have the support of the newly elected state representative,Mike Lang for his district’s education initiatives. Only, as it turns out, the school board didn’t have Representative Lang’s support.That experience made Chris wonde...

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The fight against vouchers has made unique allies of rural Republicans and urban Democrats. Why is that? We turn to Dr. Michelle Rinehart, superintendent of Alpine ISD, to help us understand the rural perspective. Alpine is a west Texas town of about 5,000 residents and Alpine ISD educates about 1,000 students–or Bucks as they proudly refer to themselves. Dr. Rinehart helps us understand how their local schools foster a sense of id...

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We keep finding connecting points to other public education issues in this education voucher fight. The significance of the state takeover of Houston ISD cannot be overstated. We turn to our friends at the Have You Heard podcast for what we need to know.

Have You Heard heads to Houston, where the state now controls Texas’ largest school district. We’ll meet teachers and parents who say the takeover of the schools in this Democra...

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Did you know that a 10-year voucher program was implemented in Texas from 1998-2008? It had a $50 million price tag and ran in Edgewood ISD, on the west side of San Antonio. 

We were shocked to learn that something eerily similar to what’s being proposed today by Governor Abbott and his allies has already happened in Texas. If vouchers were truly all that they promise, why isn’t this Edgewood Experiment used as a shining ex...

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The Texas voucher fight is full of twists and turns! And we’re still in it! The third special session ended with no voucher bill but Governor Abbott called a fourth special session immediately following its close. As of November 10, 2023, the House Special Select Committee referred a bill, HB1, that includes both education funding and a voucher program to the floor for consideration. It is expected to be heard this week. 


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November 23, 2023 1 min

We hope this Thanksgiving finds you with your loved ones enjoying your favorite foods and games! We wanted to send a quick thank you. We will see you next week for episode 4 where we’ll share our hopes for how we can preserve public education which means preserving democracy. Have a great day!

Want to get engaged in supporting local public schools? Find our resource guide here.

If you...

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November 30, 2023 23 mins

Friday, November 17, 2023 was a historic day in Texas politics and in public education. For the first time since 2005, a voucher proposal would be heard on the floor of the Texas House as part of a larger education funding bill, HB1. Quickly, Representative John Raney proposed an amendment that would strip the voucher portion of the bill but leave the rest of it intact.

We were there and listened to the debate about how we shoul...

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February 29, 2024 14 mins

It’s a new year and the legislature isn’t even in session… but the voucher fight continues. When Governor Abbott lost the vote back in November he promised to retaliate by primarying Republicans who wouldn’t vote for vouchers. Is Governor Abbott making good on his promise? What kind of money is pouring into his coffers? We bring you all the latest updates. 

We spoke to Patty Quinzi from Texas AFT (American Federation of Tea...

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April 11, 2024 19 mins

As promised, we’re back with the results of the March primary. Governor Abbott edged closer to the voucher majority that he seeks. But he doesn’t have it yet. Jaime Puente of Every Texan broke down the results for us. Is the fight over education vouchers effectively over in Texas? No. It’s not. There are six runoffs that we will keep our eyes on. Another significant runoff is Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan’s, in east Texas. Desp...

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