School Vouchers: An evaluation of their impact on education outcomes
The evidence on the effects of vouchers
The difficulty for voucher advocates is that they are asking for a radical change to the structure of the school sector, but are unable to point to any persuasive evidence on the supposed educational benefits of these schemes. The main pillars of their case are that: voucher-induced competition would raise teaching standards and improve academic outcomes at both public and private schools; vouchers would generate a more cost-effective school sector; and vouchers would provide parents with greater choice. The only one of these arguments that is supported by the available evidence is that vouchers would increase parental choice, although these benefits would probably be largely confined to middle and high income earners.
Not only are the claims about the benefits of vouchers largely unsupported by the available evidence, but the research that has been undertaken also indicates that voucher schemes could have a number of adverse effects and that they are likely to be expensive.