Policy Documents

Education Vouchers

Gregory Cooke –
March 2, 2008

In the real world, cash follows the consumer, causing institutions of worth to flourish, and those not of worth to wither. That's not true in education. Parents who want to send their children to private schools must still pay for the government schools they don't use. This strikes many people as unfair, and rightly so. Many parents do not like the quality of education at public schools, so why should they be required to subsidize those institutions?

In markets other than education, consumer choice provides information about what products people truly desire, what organizations are serving the communities, and what organizations are doomed to fail. In the current education system, however, the valuable information otherwise provided by choice is removed, making it difficult to measure consumer satisfaction with public schools.

Further complicating the notion of choice in education is that many parents who might be dissatisfied with public schools cannot afford to double-pay for education: once in taxes to pay for the government schools they don't use, and then again for private tuition.

A way around these difficulties has been proposed ... and in a growing number of cities and states across the country, it is already working!

Education vouchers give parents an immense amount of choice and control. Where vouchers for education have been put in place, schools compete by becoming more responsive to children and parents in order to attract funding.

The articles below discuss school vouchers in more depth, providing background and insight for readers interested in learning more about this issue.
http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=21288
This collection of articles explores how special-needs vouchers are a better way of providing children with physical and mental disability the quality education they deserve.


Research & Commentary

on Special-Needs Vouchers

 

How Lack of Choice Cheats Our Kids Out of a Good Education
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/print?id=2383857
John Stossel challenges the public school establishment for its variety of failings, while explaining the need for school choice.

Advocate Offers Lesson on Worth of Vouchers
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/business/columnists/markowitz/s_552482.html
This article describes many benefits of school choice, while addressing the idea in an international arena.

Study: Competition Brings Success
http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22553
A study by the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation shows the usefulness of competition in the school system and busts several myths about vouchers.

What Would A School Voucher Buy? The Real Cost Of Private Schools
http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-025.html
David Boaz and R. Morris Barrett use this Cato Institute Briefing Paper to discuss how vouchers are economically viable and the benefits choice would bring. They also describe many flaws in the government-monopolized school system.

Voucher Programs Offer Public Systems Much-Needed Competition
http://www.alleghanynews.com/mushroomchronicles/column12.php
Blogger Bill Rost of Mushroom Chronicles addresses several concerns raised about vouchers, including difficulties over government funding for religious schools, taking money from underfunded public schools, and quality control for education.

When Schools Compete, Good Things Happen
http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=12946
Heartland Institute Senior Fellow Robert Holland discusses the benefits of competition in education, showing how public schools are positively affected by having to compete with private schools in order to keep voucher-funded students.

Three Objections to School Vouchers ... Answered
http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=15487
Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast responds to three popular misconceptions about vouchers related to funding, government dependence, and regulation.