Introduction black, and latino students. The voucher


            School voucher programs, are
programs that permit parents to use public funds for their child’s education and
tuition at a private or religiously affiliated private school. These schools
attract low-income, high ability students by offering them with discounts for
tuition (Epple & Romano, 1998). Today, schools are still largely segregated
which influence the disparities in academic performance of white, black, and
latino students. The voucher programs are seen as a cost-effective approach to
create balance in the education system as well as close the achievement gap
(Rouse, 1998). Proponents of school vouchers contend that when parents can
choose where their child should go to school, they will choose the highest
performing schools (Rouse, 1998). Lower-performing schools are then forced to
improve or risk losing students and funding, which raises concerns for
opponents of school voucher programs.   

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Position in Support

            Individuals who support school vouchers
believe that school choice can improve all students’ opportunities. Parents of
students who are highly motivated are more likely to use school vouchers to send
their children to private schools where they perform better academically than
their peers with low motivation (Cullen, Jacob, & Levitt, 2005). According
to Krueger and Zhu (2004), results from their New York City study suggests that
there were positive effects on the academic achievement of African American
students who used school vouchers. Private school vouchers raised achievement
on math than on reading exams after 3 years, but both effects were relatively
small if the sample included students with missing baseline test scores and
students who have at least one Black parent (Krueger & Zhu, 2004). Research
by Chingos and Peterson (2012) indicated that African Americans had an
increased overall college enrollment by 24% which suggests that school choice
benefits minorities. Research from a meta analysis study on performance of
private religious schools in comparison to public schools, also found that attending
private religious schools is associated with the highest level of academic
achievement (Jeynes, 2012). The research also found that students from public
charter schools performed no better than their counterparts in other public

Position in Opposition

of school vouchers argue that vouchers do not improve student academic
performance. Research with the Milwaukee school voucher programs found that students
who enrolled in the parental choice program and in private schools scored 1.5 –
2.3 points per year in math more than students in comparison groups. However,
the research performed in Mikwaukee schools does not provide enough evidence on
whether vouchers provide incentive on public schools to improve (Rouse, 1998). Another
study of vouchers in DC public schools aimed to identify the relationship
between measures of voucher competition and the achievement of students in
those schools. The  study found that
after a year, voucher programs had no significant impact on the DC public
schools (Green & Winter, 2007). Another argument against voucher programs
is that they do not benefit children from low-income families as they do for
students from affluent ones. Children from affluent families are more likely to
cover additional costs of tuition (e.g materials, transporation) than economically
disadvantaged students. Research from the Cleveland study demonstrated that
students who were recipients of the vouchers were more economically disadvantaged
than the average public school students. This resulted in the recipients of the
voucher to be less likely to use the vouchers because of expenses beyond
tuition (Paul, Legan, & Metcalf, 2007).

Personal Position

            I don’t believe that public funds
should be used to support private school vouchers. Although school vouchers
give parents the opportunity to determine which school they want their child to
attend, it creates a divide between students in private schools and public
schools. School vouchers are used as an incentive for public schools to improve
their performance, but it is also harmful as it takes away funding from them.

As more and more students utilize school vouchers, the public schools lose
resources which can negatively impact the education of public school students. The
majority of students who attend public schools are economically disadvantaged
and by supporting school vouchers fundings for programs like counseling,
tutoring, and nutrition are taken away, minimizing the opportunity for students
to have access to these programs. Lastly, school voucher programs to do not
cover the entire costs of tuition. Parents from low-income households may want
to send their children to a private school for a better education, but the
additional cost of transportation (if the school is not local) can discourage these
parents because they do not have enough funds. This would create disparity
between higher income and lower income students and their attendance to private