NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Vouchers Provide Win-Win

April 1, 2011

Contrary to the widespread claim that vouchers do not benefit participants and hurt public schools, the empirical evidence consistently shows that vouchers improve outcomes for both participants and public schools.  The most important finding is that competition from vouchers introduces healthy incentives for public schools to improve, says Greg Forster, Ph.D., of the Foundation for Educational Choice.

Key findings include:

  • Ten empirical studies have used random assignment, the gold standard of social science, to examine how vouchers affect participants; nine studies find that vouchers improve student outcomes.
  • Nineteen empirical studies have examined how vouchers affect outcomes in public schools; of these studies, 18 find that vouchers improved public schools and one finds no visible impact.
  • The benefits provided by existing voucher programs are sometimes large, but are usually more modest in size; this is not surprising since the programs themselves are modest -- curtailed by strict limits on the students they can serve, the resources they provide and the freedom to innovate.

A universal voucher program could deliver the kind of dramatic improvement our public schools so desperately need, says Forster.

Source: Greg Forster, "A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Vouchers," The Foundation for Educational Choice, March 2011.

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