ERIC Number: ED457297
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Sep-10
Reference Count: N/A
Lessons from Maine: Education Vouchers for Students since 1873. Cato Briefing Papers No. 66.
Since 1873, Maine has financed the private school education of thousands of K-12 students. This lets parents in towns without traditional public schools choose from a list of approved private and public schools, enroll their children, and have the town pay the tuition up to an authorized amount. The town receives full or partial reimbursement from the state. In fall 1999, 5,614 students from 55 communities attended a variety of private schools through this program, while 30,412 attended public schools. Data from the Maine Department of Education suggest that the tuition program costs roughly $6,000 per student (20 percent less than Maine's average per pupil expenditure for public education). Families weigh such factors as goals and aspirations for their children and special programs when choosing schools. Anecdotal evidence suggests that public schools in choice areas respond to the competition by attempting to improve school services. Repeatedly, citizens vote to keep this system, which has been described as "the most valued attribute" of living in Maine. However, this feature of the educational system is limited to students who live in the "right" towns. This paper recommends that policymakers seek to facilitate greater educational opportunities for all students. (SM)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Educational Policy, Educational Vouchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Expenditure per Student, Politics of Education, Private Schools, Public Schools, School Choice, State Government, State Legislation, Tuition
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cato Inst., Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Maine