NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

San Antonio Is A Lab For School Choice

January 21, 1999

More than 13,000 low-income students are being educated at private schools thanks to privately-funded scholarship programs led by CEO America. Educators are closely monitoring the progress of the students -- particularly those who live in the Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio. Math and reading scores for public-school attendees there are well below state averages.

  • The Edgewood experiment is unique in that it is the only one that targets a single school district and offers a scholarship to every family living in its borders.
  • Thus, the results of test scores of public and private school students should be easier to compare.
  • So far, 700 pupils out of the 14,000 students in the Edgewood District have migrated to private institutions -- many of which have religious affiliations.
  • Observers say the competition has been a wake-up call to public school administrators who have put reforms in motion and improved a number of schools.

Privately-funded scholarships have an advantage over publicly- funded ones in that the programs are not subject to legal challenges on church-state grounds.

The private-voucher movement was launched in Indianapolis by Golden Rule Insurance Company seven years ago. Local business owners in San Antonio are financing the Edgewood scholarships through CEO San Antonio with pledges of as much as $50 million over a ten-year period.

Source: Laura M. Litvan, "A School Voucher Test Case?" Investor's Business Daily, January 21, 1999.


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