Education Opinion

What If We Built a Voucher Program and No One Came?

By Sara Mead — April 08, 2014 1 min read
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The Nashville Tennessean reportsthat Vanderbilt University researchers find limited appetite for or space in Tennessee private schools to take on students who receive vouchers from a voucher program proposed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. This, to my mind, has always been the greatest weakness of voucher programs--they can move a marginal number of children around spaces in existing schools, but don’t actually adress the greater problem: A shortage of high-quality school slots, period. This is also why I’ve always found charters, which provide a mechanism for the creation of new organizations and new high-performing school slots, so much more compelling than vouchers as a strategy for expanding educational choice or creating options for children stuck in low-performing schools. The Tennessean also touches on another under-acknowledged issue: The complex impact of vouchers on the economics of participating private schools.

The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.