Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Matthew Christopher Atherton
School vouchers are government-funded tuition certificates that parents can use to fund their children's attendance at private educational institutions. Considerable debate surrounds the use of public funds for education in private institutions. A key issue of debate involves the effectiveness of school voucher programs for students, primarily students from disad-vantaged backgrounds. Another major debate issue is whether the use of public funds for religious private institutions violates the principle of separation of church and state. Economist Milton Friedman is credited as one of the key originators of the concept of school vouchers. The idea emerged from negative views on governmental intervention in the realm of education and the desire to empower people who use the education system. Friedman believed that a free market approach, which allowed competition from private markets, would increase both school quality and citizens' access to quality schooling. While Friedman proposed the school voucher system in the ...