Examining the Impact of Educational Vouchers & Choice on Educational Opportunity

Civil Rights Project at UCLA presented findings on Capitol Hill, discussing question of vouchers' ability to expand or undermine educational opportunity for all students.

On March 5, researchers at the Civil Rights Project at UCLA organized a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to shed some light on policies encouraging the use of educational vouchers to promote and expand choice in American education. The briefing “Bringing Civil Rights Research to Bear on Voucher Programs: Are the Promises Realized?” brought together researchers and policymakers to examine the impact of the expansion of school vouchers  and a variety of tax subsidies at the state and federal level, based on pledges to equalize opportunity and strengthen schooling for excluded groups. The research findings consider the civil rights implications of voucher programs and ask if vouchers actually expand opportunity or undermine educational opportunity.  Participants in the briefing also presented guidelines for policy development that protect the rights of low-income students and students of color.

In one key report, UCLA researcher Jongyeon Ee and co-authors Gary Orfield and Jennifer Teitell explore how the size and share of private education has changed in the U.S. over two decades, from 1995 to 2015-16 (the most recent federal data), along with how the students are divided among different kinds of private schools: secular, Catholic, and non-Catholic religious schools. It also examines the racial composition of these schools, providing key data for evaluating the civil rights dimension of private schooling and voucher policies.  The article is available at https://sudikoff.gseis.ucla.edu/examining-the-impact-of-educational-vouchers-choice-on-educational-opportunity/.

Visit this link to view the full working paper, as well as additional articles and research from the briefing.