The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evdence on How Vouchers affect Public Schools

Released: 2/10/2009

Author(s): Greg Forster, Ph.D.

This report collects the results of all available empirical studies on how vouchers affect academic achievement in public schools. Contrary to the widespread claim that vouchers hurt public schools, it fi nds that the empirical evidence consistently supports the conclusion that vouchers improve public schools. No empirical study has ever found that vouchers had a negative impact on public schools.

There are a variety of explanations for why vouchers might improve public schools, the most important being that competition from vouchers introduces healthy incentives for public schools to improve.

The report also considers several alternative explanations, besides the vouchers themselves, that might explain why public schools improve where vouchers are offered to their students. It concludes that none of these alternatives is consistent with the available evidence. Where these claims have been directly tested, the evidence has not supported them. The only consistent explanation that accounts for all the data is that vouchers improve public schools.

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