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

In contemporary education policy debates in the United States, school voucher programs and school privatization—the entry of many private for-profit corporations and nonprofit and other organizations into the education arena—are under the spotlight. Following in the footsteps of several prior administrations, the current federal administration is actively supporting vouchers and privatization as ways to expand school choice for American parents and students. Some state governments have followed suit. 

Currently, the vast majority of students in the U.S. go to public schools. Experiments with vouchers and privatization are still relatively peripheral in the U.S. But what might happen if vouchers and privatization were to become universal features of American publicly funded education? A national test case of such conditions is available in Chile. By looking at that country’s experience, we can imagine what might happen if the U.S. were to take the route of universal privatization and vouchers.