NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

National Research Council Calls For Voucher Experiment

October 6, 1999

The National Research Council has proposed a "large and ambitious" research experiment with vouchers to determine whether the controversial private-school-choice programs might benefit students.

  • The suggestion for a multidistrict, 10-year voucher experiment is contained in a report on school finance issued in September 1999 by the NRC, an independent, federally financed arm of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • It says a large-scale voucher study would help determine whether giving public school students vouchers to pay for tuition at private schools can improve achievement, especially for students in poor, urban areas.
  • The report sets out three broad goals for federal, state, and local education finance systems: (1) Improving student achievement while using resources more efficiently; (2) Reducing differences in achievement between students from different backgrounds; and (3) Raising revenue fairly and efficiently.

The group put forth the voucher proposal because of the "paucity of empirical data, the growing popularity of the [voucher] movement, and the growing debate," Edmund W. Gordon, a member of the NRC committee that wrote the report, said in an interview last week.

Source: Kerry A. White, "NRC Report Calls For Voucher Experiment," Education Week, September 15, 1999.


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