Key Coverage

This Country Spends Billions On Private Schools – And Has A Terrible Learning Gap Between Poor And Wealthy
School choice in France offers lessons for the U.S.

In theory, vouchers and other private school choice programs open up the same menu of educational opportunities to all, according to (Education Secretary Betsy) DeVos and other school choice supporters. Parents are freed from financial constraints and can pick a school in which their child will thrive, leading to improved academic outcomes for all children.

In practice, research shows mixed outcomes for the roughly 448,000 American students who attend private schools through taxpayer-funded programs. Some thrive, but many do not. And not all students who make use of voucher programs are low-income. Other countries have gone much further than the U.S. to subsidize their private schools. Their results are also mixed. France is already serving as a test case for the belief, like that espoused by DeVos, that private school choice can increase equity. The nation heavily subsidizes private schools, which enroll more than 17 percent of French students, compared to 10 percent in the U.S. In parts of the country, like Brittany, more than 40 percent of students are enrolled in a private school.