School voucher

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A school voucher, also called an education voucher, is a certificate issued by the government which parents can apply toward tuition at a private school (or, by extension, to reimburse home schooling expenses), rather than at the public school to which their child is assigned.

Under non-voucher education systems citizens who currently pay for private schooling are still taxed for public schools, therefore they are funding both public and private schools simultaneously. Vouchers are intended to allow citizens to spend their taxes toward the education of their choice without using a direct tax credit or deduction. Controversy surrounds whether this may undermine the public education system in areas where parents have the option of both public and private schools, and increase burden on the public education system as its funding and enrollment is threatened.[1]

Contents

History

The oldest continuing school voucher programs existing today in the United States are the Town Tuitioning programs in Vermont and Maine, beginning in 1869[2] and 1873[3] respectively. Because some towns in these states operate neither local high schools nor elementary schools, students in these towns "are eligible for a voucher to attend [either] public schools in other towns or non-religious private schools. In these cases, the 'sending' towns pay tuition directly to the 'receiving' schools."[2][3]

In some Southern states during the 1960s, school vouchers were used as a method of perpetuating segregation. In a few instances, public schools were closed outright and vouchers were issued to parents. The vouchers, in many cases, were only good at privately segregated schools, known as segregation academies.[4] Today, all modern voucher programs prohibit racial discrimination.

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