ERIC Number: ED447603
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Vouchers: Yea or Nay.
Insights on Education Policy, Practice, and Research, n12 Sep 2000
This report from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) examines the status of publicly funded voucher programs, issues affecting the voucher movement, and program research. No legislature in the five member states served by SEDL has adopted vouchers, but several private programs are in place. Proponents claim vouchers offer an escape from failing schools, while opponents fear they will undermine reform and support for common schools. While most voucher referenda were rejected, vouchers appear likely to return to Southwest state legislatures for consideration in 2001. Continuing legal challenges centering on First Amendment concerns obscure important questions about voucher program effectiveness. Research shows achievement differences relate less to whether a school is public or private than to other variables, such as parental and community background, and socioeconomic status. The small number of voucher programs limits research. Voucher programs enjoy parental support regarding school safety, climate, instructional quality, and administration. Intended to assist low-income students at failing schools, eligibility standards raise important policy issues about the failure of eligible students to be admitted to schools, the greater ability of the privileged to use vouches, limited school participation and offerings, and distance from school. While many call for accountability in state achievement standards, voucher programs' differing goals, outcome measures, and various pedagogical concerns ensure wide variation in the programs' design and oversight. These programs may bring high costs to public school systems. While limited, the body of research shows little statistically significant difference between students, substantial parental support, and some indication voucher programs motivate school district reforms. (Contains 27 references and contact information for 20 voucher advocacy groups.) (TEJ)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Standards, Achievement Gains, Achievement Tests, Admission Criteria, Cost Effectiveness, Educational Finance, Educational Vouchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Government School Relationship, Parent Attitudes, School Choice, School Effectiveness, State Programs, State Regulation, State Standards
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701. Tel: 512-476-6861; Web site: http://www.sedl.org.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.