Who Chooses? Who Uses? Participation in a National School Voucher Program

Paul Peterson, David E. Campbell and Martin R. West
Year of publication: 
Choice with Equity: An Assessment by the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education
Book Editor/s: 
In Paul T. Hill, Ed.
Hoover Institution Press

Among the most controversial issues in the heated public debate over school vouchers is the question of which families are most likely to leave the public sector and enroll their children in private schools if given the opportunity. Critics assert that the parents most likely to opt for vouchers will be those who are already most involved in their children’s education—which, on average, will mean the parents of the most motivated and gifted students. They also argue that the introduction of a voucher system would increase the separation of students by race and social class, with minority and low-income students relegated to underfunded and increasingly neglected public schools. Proponents, on the other hand, contend that any “creaming” from the public school system that would occur as a result of most potential voucher systems would be