Facts About Vouchers

GAO Research on Public and Private Voucher Programs

  • Two recent reports released by the U.S. General Accounting Office review public (in Cleveland, OH and Milwaukee, WI) and private (in New York City, NY, Washington, D.C. and Dayton, OH) voucher programs and assess the impact of voucher programs on student achievement.3
  • The 2002 report, which examines privately funded voucher programs, finds no significant achievement gains for students using vouchers versus those in public schools. Black students participating in the NY voucher program performed better in math and reading, but Hispanic students in the same program did not post achievement gains. In Washington, D.C., Black voucher students initially performed better only in math (and later in reading) but when tracked over a three-year period, performed no better than their public school counterparts. In Dayton, OH, the differences in achievement were not statistically significant.4 In fact, much of the conclusions drawn in the 2002 GAO report mirror the findings in an earlier report published by Paul Peterson and colleagues (see section on Additional Research, Privately Funded Vouchers.)
  • Similarly, the 2001 report, which examines publicly funded voucher programs, found no proof that giving students state funds to attend a private, often parochial, school raised student achievement and test scores.5
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