NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 28, 1995

A new report out of Stanford University shows that parents like the idea of school choice and that children in the voucher system are more apt to stay in school, learn more and earn their high school diplomas.

The study surveyed programs operating in Milwaukee (which has two), New York City, Indianapolis and San Antonio. Together, the five programs are serving more than 7,000 students from low-income families.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Two to three times as many parents of voucher-school students gave "A" ratings to their schools as did parents of public school students.
  • While children of low-income families tend to change public schools during the year -- often at a rate of 20 percent to 30 percent of the enrollment -- the rate for voucher students in Milwaukee was no more than four percent to five percent.
  • Voucher students attending religious schools (New York and San Antonio) made remarkable test score gains; but data concerning those attending secular choice schools is flawed or incomplete because of lack of information about family background.
  • In New York, 69 percent of voucher students are staying in school and graduating, versus 39 percent of all students in public high schools, and 29 percent in the high schools voucher students would have attended.

Source: Paul E. Peterson (Harvard University), "Vouching for a Religious Education," Wall Street Journal, December 28, 1995.


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