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Educational vouchers: Effectiveness, choice, and costs

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Author Info

  • Henry M. Levin

    (Teachers College, Columbia University, Box 181, 525 W. 120 Street, New York, NY 10022)

Abstract

Most of the policy discussion on the effects of educational vouchers has been premised on theoretical or ideological positions rather than evidence. This article analyzes a substantial body of recent empirical evidence on achievement differences between public and private schools; on who chooses and its probable impact on educational equity; and on the comparative costs of public and private schools and an overall voucher system. The findings indicate that: (1) results among numerous studies suggest no difference or only a slight advantage for private schools over public schools in student achievement for a given student, but evidence of substantially higher rates of graduation, college attendance, and college graduation for Catholic high school students; (2) evidence is consistent that educational choice leads to greater socioeconomic (SES) and racial segregation of students; and (3) evidence does not support the contention that costs of private schools are considerably lower than those of public schools, but the costs of an overall voucher infrastructure appear to exceed those of the present system.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 17 (1998)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 373-392

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:17:y:1998:i:3:p:373-392

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Henry Levin & Cyrus Driver, 1997. "Cost of an Educational Voucher System," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 265-283.
  2. Witte, John F., 1992. "Private school versus public school achievement: Are there findings that should affect the educational choice debate?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 371-394, December.
  3. Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter & Sauvageau, Yvon, 1978. "Peer group effects and educational production functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 97-106, August.
  4. Link, Charles R. & Mulligan, James G., 1991. "Classmates' effects on black student achievement in public school classrooms," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 297-310, December.
  5. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1997. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," NBER Working Papers 5964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Evans, William N & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-74, November.
  7. Willms, J. Douglas & Echols, Frank & Willms, J. Douglas, 1992. "Alert and inert clients: The Scottish experience of parental choice of schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 339-350, December.
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