Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan
Chapter 23: Voucher policies and the response of for profit and religious schools: evidence from Chile
On every continent, governments have decided that giving parents more choices among schools is an appropriate policy response to educational problems. Voucher programs now exist in countries such as Chile, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and some states in the United States (e.g. Florida and Colorado) and cities around the world (e.g. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, and Bogota, Colombia). There are private school tax deductions in countries such as Brazil; charter schools in most states in the United States; public school choices in cities such as New York City and Rio de Janeiro. Countries such as Spain and Argentina provide public subsidies to private, mostly Catholic schools. Proponents have claimed that many benefits will flow from school choice, ranging from improving the efficiency of public schools (Hoxby, 2003) to expanding opportunities to the most disadvantaged students in low achieving schools (Neal, 2002). Skeptics have raised concerns about the effects of school choice on equity and quality. For example, they are concerned that disadvantaged families will not have the time, ability or resources to choose the best schools for their students. Other voucher critics have argued that in order to save costs schools will recruit more advantaged children, thereby increasing segregation and jeopardizing the quality of schools.
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