NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Advancing School Choice Through Vouchers

June 2, 1997

Nationwide, 13,500 students are using vouchers to escape from public schools -- with 40,000 on waiting lists.

  • Thirty private voucher programs exist in 18 states with others scheduled for start-up in a number of large American cities.
  • An estimated $40 million has been spent on or pledged to voucher systems since 1991.
  • Out of $300 billion a year spent on elementary and secondary education this is a minuscule amount, but enough to demonstrate how valuable education alternatives can be.

For example, a voucher experiment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, allowing 1,000 children to attend private schools, resulted after three or four years in reading scores of minority students accelerating 3 to 6 percentage points and math scores zooming 5 to 11 points higher than comparable students in public schools.

Here are some steps reform advocates suggest parents and voucher supporters follow to advance school choice in their own communities:

  • In New York City, tax-deductible donations may be made to the nonprofit School Choice Scholarships Foundation, founded by Bruce Kovner, chairman of Caxton Corporation.
  • Elsewhere, CEO America in Bentonville, Arkansas, can help those interested to set up a voucher program in their own area.
  • For a contribution of $100,000 each year for three years CEO America can fund scholarships for 60 to 140 students.
  • A smaller effort involving 10 children can be started for $10,000.

Source: Susan Lee and Christine Foster, "Trustbusters," Forbes, June 2, 1997.


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