Should school boards and states implement voucher programs for education?

Explore all perspectives, stances, and arguments for and against voucher programs with AllStances by AllSides. 

States Should Implement Education Vouchers

School vouchers increase equality, impove the student experience, and decrease costs.

States Shouldn’t Implement Education Vouchers

School vouchers increase inequality, worsen the student experience, blur the line between church and state, and undermine public school resources. 



In America, public schools are funded by local property taxes from nearby residents. These residents generally are assigned to the closest school to their home address, although some school districts give parents the option to apply for a spot at publicly funded charter schools, magnet schools, or other open enrollment opportunities.

One of the most popular alternatives to public schools is private schools, which claim to provide better education or an educational experience or environment that better fits the family’s needs or preferences (religious, arts, cultural, ethnic, Montessori, special education, etc). However, tuition costs make them inaccessible to many families. Voucher programs seek to bridge this accessibility gap by partially funding public schools with grants provided to parents that can alternatively be spent on private school tuition. 

The modern idea of vouchers originates from free-market economist Milton Friedman. Voucher programs have also been supported by religious groups, since the 1962 Supreme Court case Engel v. Vitale limited the amount of religious instruction permitted in public schools. However, the Supreme Court later protected parents’ rights to use school vouchers for private religious schools in Carson v. Makin

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Stance 1: Yes, States Should Implement Education Vouchers

School Vouchers Increase Equality

School Vouchers Improves the Student Experience

School Vouchers Decreases Cost

Parents and Students Approve of School Voucher Programs

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Stance 2: No, States Shouldn’t Implement Education Vouchers

School Vouchers Create Inequality

School Vouchers Worsen the School Experience

School Vouchers Blur Lines between Church and State

Public Schools Provide Public Resources that Vouchers Would Undermine

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Glossary of Terms

School Choice - Policies that seek to provide students alternatives to public schools through taxpayer funding, including vouchers, open enrollment, charter and magnet schools, or a mix of these policies 

Vouchers - A voucher is a government paid rebate given to parents who send their kids to private school instead of public school 

Universal Vouchers - a voucher that anyone can receive, meaning no eligibility requirements need to be met 

Private School - A school that offers full time instruction that is privately funded

Parochial School - A private school that is directly affiliated with a religion or church

Public School - A school that offers full time instruction that is funded and managed by the government

Open Enrollment - A type of school choice policy that enables students to attend public schools that are outside their attendance area 

Equity in Education - The concept that all kids, regardless of income, race, or any other metric, are entitled to a quality education and recognize, respect, and attend to the diverse strengths and challenges of the students they serve.

Charter School - A charter school is a school managed independently from the district it is in that receives federal and state funds. Charter schools often also raise funds from private sources.

Magnet School - A magnet school is a public school with a unique specialized focus in a specific area of study or for a specific type of learner, such as gifted children.

Mandatory Reporting - Policies that require faculty and counselors at public schools and some private schools to report cases of domestic or sexual abuse

Portfolio Review - Policies that require students in private or homeschool to show what they have worked on and what resources they have used in school

No Child Left Behind Act - A 2002 bipartisan law that increased federal oversight over public schools through standardized testing, eventually replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015.

Every Student Succeeds Act - A 2015 public education law that gives more power to the states to assist disadvantaged students, reduce reliance on standardized testing, and emphasizes academic achievement and a well rounded education

Milton Friedman - A Prominent economist who pioneered school voucher programs in his 1980 book, Free to Choose

Engel v. Vitale - A Supreme Court case that found public schools facilitating the recitation of a specific prayer violated the 1st amendment of the Constitution.

Carson v. Makin - A Supreme Court case that found that prohibitions of school voucher use for sectarian schools violated the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.


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Developed by:

AllSides Editor-in-chief Henry A. Brechter (Center bias)

University of California-Riverside public policy students Divya Bharadwaj, Andrew Shannon, and Samuel Shroff (all Left bias)


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Content Designer Joseph Ratliff (Lean Left bias)

Director of Marketing and Bias Ratings Julie Mastrine (Lean Right bias)