Sarah Reber
LUSKIN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS EDUCATION AND HEALTH, UCLA. Associate Professor of Public Policy. Research focuses on understanding the educational, social, and fiscal effects—both intended and unintended of school desegregation, the Civil Rights Act, and the massive expansion of federal aid to K-12 education that Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act represented.
School Vouchers: Promise and Pitfalls
Education Policy

School Vouchers: Promise and Pitfalls

The Issue:

There is strong support for private school vouchers in the Trump administration. States would likely have ample discretion in how they implemented any new, Federally-funded voucher program. Who benefits educationally and financially — and who may be harmed—would depend critically on how such programs are designed.

The Facts:

  • School vouchers give families money to use for private school tuition including, in some cases, at religious schools. They can create incentives for public and private schools to improve as they compete for students.
  • Evidence on vouchers is mixed. Some studies find educational improvements while others have found that using a voucher to attend private school actually lowered student test scores.
  • Students who remain in public schools could be made worse off if voucher programs lure away the highest-achieving students or if public school funding is reduced. Special measures may be needed to ensure that the requirements of disabled or special needs students are met.