School Vouchers

School vouchers are generally a way for governments to transfer money to parents to allow children to attend private schools, either at no cost to the parents or at a reduced cost. In some cases, the term voucher is also been used to describe broader school choice programs that include both private schools and public schools outside of a student’s school district. This entry discusses the history of school vouchers, their use in several different countries, and their impact.

The economist Milton Friedman gave the concept of school vouchers its first full exposition. In a 1955 essay entitled The Role of Government in Education, Friedman contended that vouchers would amplify educational options for parents dissatisfied with their neighborhood public schools. In particular, Friedman asserted that ...

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