School Finance Reform: A Case for Vouchers. Civic Report.Report as inadecuate

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Efforts in school-finance reform in recent years have been directed by court-mandated remedies for equity and adequacy. This report contends that the typical judicial remedy overlooks the fundamental causes of inequities in public education, and the potential for reform through expansion of parental choice. It combines existing data with insights from economic models to simulate how factors that govern public-school choices might influence parental decisions in light of options created by private-school vouchers. The methodology takes the current public-school system as the starting point of an analysis of vouchers. It explores how inequities may form the legal basis for judicial remedies to include private-school vouchers, and the forces that underlie these inequities. It then creates a model that incorporates these forces, relates them to data from New York City schools, and explores the impact of vouchers in their presence. The model predicts that voucher programs substantially reduce the segregation of educational opportunity. The model further suggests that community-targeted voucher initiatives in a system like New York's have the potential for large positive effects on equity and efficiency of the entire education system. (Contains 2 tables; 69 endnotes, some with references.) (WFA)

Descriptors: Educational Finance, Educational Vouchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Finance Reform, Financial Support, Parent Participation, Private Schools, Public Schools, Public Support, School Choice

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Tel: 212-599-7000; Fax: 212-599-3494; Web site: For full text:

Author: Heise, Michael; Nechyba, Thomas


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