The author of the article presents the twelve-voucher programs existing in the United States of America now. Moreover, he discusses the methods that are applied to evaluate school vouchers. Patrick Wolf stresses that a school voucher program should be defined as an arrangement of the funds suggested to parents to educate the child in a private school they have chosen. Disadvantaged students may also study at a private public school due to the scholarships that are funded privately. A lot of students participate in voucher programs. According to statistics, in 2007 their number was 56,285. Each voucher program has its goals. There is also an opportunity to study in rural areas as there is a special program called The Vermont Town Tuitioning Program. Therefore, such programs make education available for everyone, even for those who live in the country (Milwaukee). The examples of voucher programs prove that they are very important as they serve the students with disabilities. There are also special programs for children from poor families. They exist in Cleveland, Milwaukee, and the District of Columbia.
Educationists suggest three major approaches to control the selection of public school. They are: 1) cross-sectional studies, 2) longitudinal studies, and 3) randomized experiments. The first approach is known as quasi-experimental studies as here the statistical modelling is applied to find out the ideal conditions in order to analyze the casual influences suggested by actual experiments. The second approach is based on analyzing the students’ performance before and after entering a certain public school. Individual fixed-effects are considered to be the easiest form of longitudinal studies. As for the third approach – randomized experiments – it is based on the following strategy: the students are taken from the families that have equal level of motivation and form a so-called treatment group that is offered a voucher.
Parents in America are completely satisfied with the voucher programs. The latter have a positive influence on students’ progress at school. The studies of different voucher programs showed that students’ progress in math and reading is much better when they participate in such a program. The positive result is evident among African-American students. Unfortunately, there are no researches telling about the results if the voucher programs were offered to all students.
Implications for Education
The article under consideration gives significant information about voucher programs existing in the United States of America now. The author presented the goal of 12 voucher programs and their benefits. These data may be applied by educators as it encourages developing such programs because all of them have a positive effect upon students. Unfortunately, there have been no researches indicating the results in case if all the students studied in the voucher programs. However, the author presents the methods that can be applied in order to evaluate and analyze the voucher programs. It is known that the students studying according to the voucher program are better in math. Those data can be applied by teachers to pay attention to other subjects from the very beginning of learners’ studies at a public school. The information about the voucher programs provided by the author can be applied by both educators and the researchers who are willing to conduct a research on this topic. The article will become a splendid basis of this research as it contains the most important information about the voucher programs at public schools.
I saw the positive influence of the voucher programs on students and became interested in the future research in this field. I think that this article is a good starting point for researching such problems as:
- How to choose the best voucher program for a child?
- How to encourage the development of the voucher programs?
- Advantages and disadvantages of the voucher programs
- What can be done to make such programs available for all the students?
- Why is the students’ progress better if they study via the voucher program at a public school?
I did not know that there were so many different voucher programs before reading this article. I am sure that they are very useful as everyone should be able to get education, no matter what disabilities he/she has. It is my firm belief, that it is necessary to do everything possible to create more such programs and motivate parents to choose them to educate children. I do not think that the twelve voucher programs presented by Patrick Wolf are enough to give everyone an opportunity to become an educated person. All this means that there are still many gaps to fill in about the voucher programs and their influence upon students.