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ERIC Number: ED560013
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Public Accountability & Private-School Choice: A Policy Toolkit from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Revised
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
As voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs have expanded in recent years, another promising development has been the incorporation, into more such programs, of provisions that hold participating private schools to account for their students' performance. The newest and largest voucher programs, such as those in Louisiana and Indiana, have gone beyond the familiar "let-parents vote-with-their-feet-and-judge-the-school-by-whether-anyone-wants-to-attend-it" arguments and are doing more to assure parents and taxpayers that private schools accepting scholarship-bearing students will be held to certain expectations regarding how much those youngsters actually learn while enrolled. There are risks associated with drawing private schools into public accountability systems, however empirical evidence shows that downsides can be mitigated if policymakers are smart about how they design results-based accountability in choice programs of this kind. The Fordham Institute supports private-school choice, done right. That means that voucher and tax-credit policies ought to provide an array of high-quality choices that are held accountable to parents and taxpayers. The Fordham Institute has assembled this toolkit to help with that design. This revised edition provides key recommendations, and examples of four programs that have generally gotten policies right. Thorny questions are asked and answered. A sample opinion editorial makes the case for a balanced approach to accountability in voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs. Model statutory language is provided to guide legislators toward an ideal system of outcomes-based accountability that yields more useful information for parents and taxpayers yet respects the autonomy of private schools that participate. The hope is that this toolkit helps policymakers strike a sound balance that preserves both the school's freedom to operate as it thinks best, and taxpayers' legitimate interest in ensuring that their dollars are paying for genuine educational achievement.
Thomas B. Fordham Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Walton Family Foundation
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Identifiers - Location: Indiana; Louisiana; Ohio; Wisconsin