NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

One In Four Students Opt For Public School Alternatives

September 8, 1999

A new study establishes that nearly 25 percent of school children attend educational institutions outside the traditional public school system -- including voucher or charter schools. According to researchers Bruce Fuller of the University of California- Berkeley, and Luis Huerta of Stanford University, some 14 million students are involved in some kind of educational choice program. Their study was based on Department of Education statistics.

  • This year, seven million students are entering alternative programs that did not exist a generation ago -- and five million are bound for private or parochial schools.
  • Another two million new families are participating in programs that allow their children to attend any public school in surrounding school districts.
  • While the researchers found little hard evidence that students excel academically in these programs, they did find that parents are happier with the new schools.
  • Also, attendance, graduation rates and college enrollments improved for those attending alternative schools.

The Center for Education Reform's Jeanne Allen comments that all those factors are evidence of success.

Source: Tamara Henry, "Alternative Schools Attract 1 in 4 Students," USA Today, September 8, 1999.


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