Top Five Myths About School Vouchers

Published December 1, 2005

Myth #1: Vouchers siphon money away from public schools.

Debunked: Vouchers have the potential to save money for districts, because voucher amounts are typically less than the average per-pupil allotment, while the responsibility of educating a voucher child is shifted to a private school.

Myth #2: Voucher schools are not accountable to the government for funds.

Debunked: The accountability discussion should be shifted from one about public funds to one about parental rights. If parents are not satisfied with a voucher school, they can hold that school accountable by taking their child and their voucher elsewhere.

Myth #3: Vouchers “cream” the best students from the public schools.

Debunked: Statistics show little evidence to support the claim that voucher students are either socioeconomically privileged or academically gifted. Voucher students might enjoy one major advantage: involved parents.

Myth #4: Voucher students do not have better academic achievement than public school students.

Debunked: The academic achievement gains of voucher students have been well-documented in cities such as New York City and Dayton, Ohio, and in no evaluation have students using vouchers performed worse than their peers on standardized tests. Even if academic gains are not made, vouchers save taxpayer money and empower parents.

Myth #5: Other school reforms, such as smaller classes, work better than vouchers.

Debunked: While some reforms might be effective on a small scale, vouchers have the potential to effect large-scale change, while increasing student achievement and saving states money.

From “Top Five Myths of School Vouchers and Why They Should Not Impede Education Reform in Maryland,” by Kirk A. Johnson, September 12, 2005, Maryland Public Policy Institute.