Estimating the Education Market

Published October 1, 1999

The latest Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll offers insights into what the education marketplace might look like if vouchers became a reality across the United States.

When public school parents were asked where they would send their oldest child to school if the government paid the tuition, 51 percent chose the same public school, 5 percent chose another public school, 22 percent chose a private school, and 17 percent chose a church-related school.

If parents were able to effect these choices–and assuming that undecided parents keep their children in their current school–the education marketplace of the future would be dramatically different than it is today.

Instead of enrolling almost nine out of every 10 of the nation’s students, public schools would enroll little more than one of every two–54.1 percent, compared to 88.7 percent now.

While religious schools’ share of students would more than double, from 9.6 percent to 24.7 percent, the largest growth would be for secular schools, whose share would increase more than ten-fold, from 1.7 percent to 21.2 percent.