The PACES voucher program was established by the Colombian government in late 1991. It aimed to assist low-income households by distributing school vouchers to students living in neighborhoods situated in the two lowest socioeconomic strata. Between 1991 and 1997, the PACES program awarded 125,000 vouchers to lower-income secondary school students. Those vouchers were worth about US $190 in 1998, and data shows that matriculation fees and other monthly expenses incurred by voucher students attending private schools averaged about US $340 in 1998, so a majority of voucher recipients supplemented the voucher with personal funds. The students selected to be in the program were selected by lottery. The vouchers were able to be renewed annually, conditional on students achieving satisfactory academic success as indicated by scheduled grade promotion. The program also included incentives to study harder as well as widening schooling options. Empirical evidence showed that the program had some success. Joshua Angrist shows that after 3 years into the program, lottery winners were 15 percentage points more likely to attend private school and complete .1 more years of schooling, and were about 10 percentage points more likely to have finished the 8th grade. The study also reported that there were larger voucher effects for boys than for girls, especially in mathematics performance. It is important to note that the program did not have a significant impact on dropout rates. Angrist reports that lottery winners scored .2 standard deviations higher on standardized tests. The voucher program also reported some social effects. Lottery winners worked less on average than non-lottery winners. Angrist reports that this was correlated with a decreased likelihood to marry or cohabit as teenagers. In general, the school voucher program's benefits outweighed the costs.
In Sweden, pupils are free to choose a private school and the private school gets paid the same amount as municipal schools. Over 10% of Swedish pupils were enrolled in private schools in 2008. Sweden is internationally known for this innovative school voucher model that provides Swedish pupils with the opportunity to choose the school they prefer. For instance, the biggest school chain, Kunskapsskolan (“The Knowledge School”), offers 30 schools and a web-based environment, has 700 employees and teaches nearly 10,000 pupils. The Swedish system has been recommended to Barack Obama.
Funding for private schools is generally provided through student tuition, endowments, scholarship/school voucher funds, and donations and grants from religious organizations or private individuals. Government funding for religious schools is either subject to restrictions or possibly forbidden, according to the courts' interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or individual state Blaine Amendments. Non-religious private schools theoretically could qualify for such funding without hassle, preferring the advantages of independent control of their student admissions and course content instead of the public funding they could get with charter status.
Given the limited budget for schools, it is claimed that a voucher system would weaken public schools while not providing enough money for people to attend private schools. 76% of the money given in Arizona's voucher program went to children already in private schools.
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program provides scholarships to low-income children in Washington D.C. for tuition and other fees at participating private schools. The program was the first Federally funded school voucher program in the United States. It was first approved in 2003 and allowed to expire in 2009. The program was reauthorized under the SOAR Act in 2011.
Education in Denmark is compulsory (undervisningspligt) for children below the age of 15 or 16, even though it is not compulsory to attend Folkeskole ("public school"). The school years up to the age of fifteen/sixteen are known as Folkeskole, since any education has to match the level offered there. About 82% of young people take further education in addition to this. Government-funded education is usually free of charge and open to all. Denmark has a tradition of private schools and about 15.6% of all children at basic school level attend private schools, which are supported by a voucher system.
Wisconsin Career Academy, later known as the Wisconsin College Preparatory Academy, was a middle school and high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded in 2000, it originally operated as a charter school under the Milwaukee Public Schools system. In June 2012, the MPS Board of School Directors and WCA administration mutually agreed to terminate the charter school contract. Prior to this termination, in February 2012, the school board of directors had decided to change its name to Wisconsin College Preparatory Academy and announced that it would operate as a private high school under the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program for the 2012-2013 year.
"School choice" is a term for K–12 public education options in the United States, describing a wide array of programs offering students and their families alternatives to publicly provided schools, to which students are generally assigned by the location of their family residence. In the United States, the most common—both by number of programs and by number of participating students—school choice programs are scholarship tax credit programs, which allow individuals or corporations to receive tax credits toward their state taxes in exchange for donations made to non-profit organizations that grant private school scholarships. In other cases, a similar subsidy may be provided by the state through a school voucher program. Other school choice options include open enrollment laws (which allow students to attend public schools outside the district in which the students live), charter schools, magnet schools, virtual schools, homeschooling, education savings accounts (ESAs), and individual tax credits or deductions for educational expenses.
The term has been used in relation to the concept of school vouchers in which it is claimed that the vouchers could be used by parents of "better" students (i.e., students with above average grades who are not disciplinary risks) to move them out of lower performing or substandard state schools and into less-crowded private ones, leaving the "worse" students (i.e., students with learning disabilities or who are troublemakers) behind in the state schools, making the situation worse.
In 1998, Epple and Richard Romano developed a seminal model of competition between tuition-financed private schools, tax-financed, tuition-free public schools and students that differ in terms of ability and income. The model predicts that private schools will attempt to vary tuition to attract relatively able students through tuition discounts as less able yet wealthy students benefit from the educational peer effects due to their more talented but poorer peers. With regard to public and private schools, these predictions are borne out by later work with David Figlio, which moreover asserts that students' income plays a stronger role in determining placement in the hierarchy of private schools the more public school expenditure falls. In an extension, Epple, Romano and Elizabeth Newlon study the effect of student tracking on school competition and predict that tracking would increase the share of high ability students in public schools but also push wealthy, low-ability students into private education, which attracts the wealthiest and most talented students. These findings have led Epple and Romano to caution that the introduction of municipal school choice programmes may drive wealthy households out of the city centers into the suburbs. To prevent private schools from "skimming off" the wealthiest and most talented students, they argue in favour of sophisticated combinations of tuition floors and ceilings, which allow school vouchers to provide the benefits of school competition without making participation in the voucher system compulsory or abiding very high levels of educational stratification. Finally, Epple's and Romano's work on the impact of educational peer effects on student sorting into private and public education has also been applied (together with Holger Sieg) to higher education, which also witnesses the emergence of a hierarchy of schools in terms of quality that is associated with corresponding stratification among students by income and ability.
In 1990, Milwaukee became the first community in the United States to adopt a school voucher program. The program enables students to receive public funding to study at parochial and other private schools free of cost. The 2006−07 school year marked the first time that more than $100 million was paid in vouchers, as 26% of Milwaukee students receive public funding to attend schools outside the MPS system. If the voucher program alone were considered a school district, it would mark the sixth-largest district in Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin state law, the Milwaukee school board is one of several entities that can authorize charter schools in the city. Other authorities that can authorize charter schools are the Milwaukee City Council, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Area Technical College Board. The first charter school in Milwaukee was the Highland Community School, a Montessori elementary school authorized by Milwaukee Public Schools in 1996.
Bettencourt is sponsoring a tax credit program that would allow business to donate a certain amount of money for education to be given to families seeking alternatives to public school (either home-schooling or for private or religious schools). The donating business would receive a tax credit of between 75 and 90 percent for that donation. The proposal aims to avoid the constitutional issues faced by school voucher programs.
Marta Mossburg, of the Washington Examiner, stated, "The book drips with hypocrisy. He claims Republicans 'reject identity politics' and that a 'lot of bad ideas flow from categorizing people as either victims or oppressors.' But as a Senate candidate and as lieutenant governor of Maryland, he championed minority business subsidies and affirmative action. In the book, Steele slams President Obama for sending his daughters to private school while rejecting school choice for poor Washington D. C. children. As lieutenant governor in Maryland, he headed a commission whose final report never mentioned school vouchers, a key component of any school choice platform. The report rightly endorsed expanding charter schools, but where was his outrage for Baltimore City children denied access to safe, effective learning environment."
The organization has litigated several cases related to education reform and school vouchers, including two successful cases that went to the Supreme Court: Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) and Garriott v. Winn (2010). In the Zelman case, the Supreme Court ruled that parents can use public money (in the form of school vouchers) to pay tuition at private schools, including parochial schools. The institute represented parents in that case. In the Garriott case, the court dismissed a challenge to a program in Arizona that gave state tax credits for payment of private school tuition. The institute argued in favor of dismissal.
In May 2017, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos addressed the House Appropriations subcommittee. Clark asked DeVos: If a state private school voucher program wanted to discriminate against LGBTQ students using federal taxpayer dollars, would the Education Department step in to stand up for students and taxpayers?
Focus on the Family supports private school vouchers and tax credits for religious schools. According to Focus on the Family website, Dobson believes that parents are ultimately responsible for their children's education, and encourages parents to visit their children's schools to ask questions and to join the PTA so that they may voice their opinions. Dobson opposes sex education curricula that are not abstinence-only.
Many schools are owned or funded by states. Private schools operate independently from the government. Private schools usually rely on fees from families whose children attend the school for funding; however, sometimes such schools also receive government support (for example, through School vouchers). Many private schools are affiliated with a particular religion; these are known as parochial schools.
As a member of the Nampa School Board from 1994 to 2002, Luna supported school vouchers and tax credits for private schools as a means to increase competition in education.
Christie, whose own children attend Catholic parochial school, is a strong supporter of the state granting tax credits to parents who send their children to private and parochial schools. He also supports the introduction of state-funded vouchers, which parents of students in failing school districts could use to pay the tuition of private schools, or of public schools in communities other than their own which agree to accept them. Christie supports merit pay for teachers.
Clinton is against education vouchers for use at private schools. On September 13, 2000, she said, "I do not support vouchers. And the reason I don't is because I don't think we can afford to siphon dollars away from our underfunded public schools." Outlining a different objection, on February 21, 2006, she said: "First family that comes and says 'I want to send my daughter to St. Peter's Roman Catholic School' and you say 'Great, wonderful school, here's your voucher.' Next parent that comes and says, 'I want to send my child to the school of the Church of the White Supremacist ... ' The parent says, 'The way that I read Genesis, Cain was marked, therefore I believe in white supremacy. ... You gave it to a Catholic parent, you gave it to a Jewish parent, under the Constitution, you can't discriminate against me.' So what if the next parent comes and says, 'I want to send my child to the School of the Jihad'? ... I won't stand for it."
In the Philippines, the private sector has been a major provider of educational services, accounting for about 7.5% of primary enrollment, 32% of secondary enrollment and about 80% of tertiary enrollment. Private schools have proven to be efficient in resource utilization. Per unit costs in private schools are generally lower when compared to public schools. This situation is more evident at the tertiary level. Government regulations have given private education more flexibility and autonomy in recent years, notably by lifting the moratorium on applications for new courses, new schools and conversions, by liberalizing tuition fee policy for private schools, by replacing values education for third and fourth years with English, mathematics and natural science at the option of the school, and by issuing the revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in August 1992.