ERIC Number: ED480912
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Aug-28
Reference Count: N/A
What Does a Voucher Buy? A Closer Look at the Cost of Private Schools. Policy Analysis.
Salisbury, David F.
By most measures, U.S. K-12 public schools continue on a path of mediocrity. To date, many states have implemented school choice programs, seeking to instill elements of competition and choice into their education systems. However, they all have limitations. An ideal school choice program would give every child a voucher or tax credit to be spent on educational services at any public or private school. The amount of the voucher or tax credit should be nearly equivalent to the amount of funds spent per student in public school. Government figures indicate that the average private elementary school tuition in the United States is less than $3,500, and the average private secondary school tuition is $6,052. Therefore, a voucher amount of $5,000 would give students access to most private schools. Since average per pupil spending for public schools is now $8,830, most states could offer a voucher amount even greater than $5,000 and still realize substantial savings. A survey of private schools in New Orleans; Houston; Denver; Charleston, South Carolina; Washington, DC, and Philadelphia shows that there are many options available to families with $5,000 to spend on a child's education. Even more options would be available if all parents were armed with a voucher or tax credit of that amount. An appendix presents tuition for private elementary and high schools in six U.S. cities. (SM)
Descriptors: Educational Vouchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Expenditure per Student, Private Schools, Public Schools, School Choice, Tax Credits, Tuition, Urban Schools
Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 800-767-1241 (Toll Free); Fax: 202-842-3490; Web site: http://www.cato.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cato Inst., Washington, DC.