School Vouchers The school voucher system is a program that provides parents with public grants to send their children to the school of their choice, public or private. The way that the school voucher system would work is that a voucher would be given to the parents of the student. The voucher would be good for a certain amount of money. This voucher could then be used toward the tuition for the school of choice. The voucher may not cover the entire price of tuition, but in most cases it will make private and parochial schools a more realistic option for many families. This would make it possible for families in poor neighborhoods with bad schools to send their children to better, safer schools.
The idea of school vouchers originated in the mid-1950's by economist Milton Friedman, who thought that these vouchers would improve educational efficiency by placing schools in a competitive, free-market position (Hadderman 1). For years, many have complained about the problems of large public schools, whether it is violence, drop out rates, or low test scores. Clint Bollick of the Institute of Justice stated in 1996 that, "The number of eighth-graders in the Cleveland Public Schools who graduate four years later and pass the 12th grade proficiency test is 1 in 14. The number of students assaulted in the city's public schools or on public-school property is also 1 in 14." (McGroarty 3) .
In 1990 Wisconsin adopted a system which allows low income Milwaukee students to receive school vouchers to be used at one of 13 participating private schools (Congressional Institute). The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program originally offered $2,500 in private school tuition for children from low income families. Eventually that number grew to $5,000 (Hadderman 2). Ohio also started a similar program in Cleveland in 1996 which targeted low income families.