Masters Thesis

School vouchers: the effectiveness on student achievement outcomes

School vouchers promise to improve parental choice in offering a higher quality education for their child. The primary effect of school vouchers or school choice is its tendency to increase the educational gap between the middle and upper-income and the low-income students. This policy analysis describes how the voucher system was intended to work and what is known about their actual effects on students, parents, and public schools in various areas. Research of literature regarding various implemented voucher programs in the United States and two other nations was conducted. The main purpose of this analysis was to determine if students who utilized school vouchers showed improved student achievement outcomes. The research also covers how data from the voucher programs was analyzed along with controversial analysis on the original findings. To conduct the analysis for this paper, I accessed third party information from scholarly journal articles after receiving approval from California State University, Bakersfield Instructional Review Board (IRB). The information gathered was from research articles on various voucher programs and analysis of those programs. The literature I studied revealed small but inconsistent effects of school vouchers. The programs varied by ethnicity, program structure and incentives. The research did not produce evidence that students’ achievements increased over a long-term. Recommendations developed from the analysis include: 1) changing the curriculum of the public schools or developing new academic programs; 2) getting back to basics; 3) lower the student-teacher ratio; and 4) target more resources toward states with a higher proportion of minority and disadvantaged students.

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