ERIC Number: ED504651
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
When Private Schools Take Public Dollars: What's the Place of Accountability in School Voucher Programs?
Finn, Chester E., Jr.; Hentges, Christina M.; Petrilli, Michael J.; Winkler, Amber M.
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Critics of school voucher programs argue that private schools that receive taxpayer dollars should be held accountable to the same standards as public schools. School choice supporters counter that private schools should be left alone to answer to the parents of their students. The authors advocate for a re-visit to the discussion of accountability for voucher programs, presenting insights, opinions, and advice from twenty scholars, advocates, program administrators and private school representations of school choice. Most experts concur that participating private schools should not face new regulations regarding day-to-day operations, and also share common ground regarding parental information and program evaluation. Acknowledging that consensus continues to break down when discussing making school results and financial audits more transparent, the authors propose a sliding scale , suggesting that the more voucher-bearing students a school enrolls, the greater its obligations for accountability: schools that draw the majority of their revenues from private sources would be treated more like other private schools, while those that depend primarily on public dollars would be treated more like public schools. This approach, say the authors, respects the independence of schools that participate in a limited way in voucher programs and similar forms of indirect public subsidy, while acknowledging that private schools that survive predominantly on public funds, whether direct or indirect, are closer to being public schools, and thus should face increasing levels of public transparency and accountability. Two appendixes are included: (1) Respondent Biographies; and (2) Questions Posed to Respondents, September 2008. (Contains 26 footnotes and 7 figures.)
Descriptors: Educational Vouchers, Private Schools, Accountability, Disclosure, School Choice, School Administration, Program Evaluation, Testing, Educational Indicators, Educational Finance, Access to Information, Accreditation (Institutions), Teacher Qualifications, Religious Education, Admission Criteria, School Holding Power
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Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Institute