NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Rise Of Private School Vouchers

April 1, 1996

The system of vouchers being used to fund the private education of former public school students is spreading in the U.S., according to reports.

  • Private vouchers supported 9,850 students in 29 cities and two states during the 1995-96 school year, according to the National Scholarship Center.
  • So far, businessmen have invested more than $30 million in over 12,000 children through their privately funded school choice programs -- with an additional 18,000 children already on waiting lists.
  • J. Patrick Rooney, head of the Indianapolis-based Golden Rule Insurance Company, and other local businessmen have created a charitable trust that pays half of a student's tuition to a private school if parents will pay the other half.
  • A team of New York philanthropists has created the School Choice Scholarships Foundation, which will award scholarships of up to $1,400 per child annually to send 1,000 children from poverty-level families to private schools.

The New York group will monitor the progress of the randomly selected private school students and compare it with the achievements of public school students

Another scholarship program has been set up in Albany that offers every student in grades 1-6 at the city's worst public school an annual scholarship of up to $1,000, for as long as they need to complete elementary school.

  • A Harris poll of employers found that only 22 percent feel today's entrants to the workforce know math well.
  • Only 12 percent feel that new employees can write well.
  • A mere 10 percent believe that graduates know how to solve complex problems.

Only 30 percent of employers ranked the overall educational preparedness of current students as positive.

Source: Scan, "The Quiet Revolution in School Choice," The American Enterprise, March-April, 1997.

 

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