Lessons from Chile’s Universal Voucher System Can Inform U.S. Education Policy

BOULDER, CO (June 7, 2018) – The Trump administration is actively supporting vouchers to fund private school tuition, and some state governments have followed suit. The main goal of these choice programs is to expand alternatives to traditional public schools, especially for students who do not have access to a quality education. Additionally, supporters contend, such competition will motivate improvement in public schools. In contrast, opponents contend that in taking money away from traditional public schools, vouchers and privatization will exacerbate inequalities, benefit few, and leave many students behind.

To help inform these issues, the National Education Policy Center released a brief today, What Might Happen If School Vouchers and Privatization of Schools Were to Become Universal in the U.S.: Learning from a National Test Case—Chile, written by Ernesto Treviño, Rick Mintrop, Cristóbal Villalobos, and Miguel Órdenes.

Experiments with vouchers are still relatively peripheral in the U.S., where the vast majority of students attend public schools. Accordingly, the authors of this new brief turn to Chile’s universal-voucher experience, in order to explore what might happen if vouchers were to become universal features of American publicly funded education. By looking at Chile’s experience, of a failed policy which also elicited several harmful outcomes, we can imagine what might happen if the U.S. were to take the route of universal privatization and vouchers. 

Find What Might Happen If School Vouchers and Privatization of Schools Were to Become Universal in the U.S.: Learning from a National Test Case—Chile, by Ernesto Treviño, Rick Mintrop, Cristóbal Villalobos, and Miguel Órdenes, at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/chilean-voucher

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu