School Choice In The Courts

Policy Backgrounders | Education

No. 153
Monday, August 07, 2000
by Melanie L. Looney


With many of the new voucher programs coming under legal attack, little empirical data is available on the programs' effectiveness. While the current data are encouraging, no meaningful debate of the available alternatives is feasible until large testing and data analyses are completed. Accordingly, the National Research Council and others have proposed a "large and ambitious" experiment to determine the value of school choice programs.47 The multi-district, 10-year voucher experiment proposal was included in the council's September 1999 report on school finance. The council, an independent, federally financed arm of the National Academy of Sciences, stated that such a study would furnish essential data on whether, and to what degree, tuition vouchers for private schools could boost achievement of students, especially those in poor, urban areas. Until such a study is completed or existing programs have created sufficient data, the debate over vouchers will continue and America's children will remain in failing public schools.

Melanie Looney is an intern with the National Center for Policy Analysis, and is a lawyer.

NOTE: Nothing written here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the National Center for Policy Analysis or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before Congress.

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