Document Number: 5655Vouchers and Public Policy: When Ideology Trumps Evidence - The authors posit that "the search for evidence on the educational effectiveness of vouchers is a charade that will not settle the debate." They propose an alternative to the search for scientifically based evidence, a framework of four criteria — freedom of choice, productive efficiency, equity and social cohesion — for determining the relative desirability of any educational structure in a democratic society. The researchers likewise consider three “design instruments”, namely finance, regulation and support services, that bear upon the attractiveness and success of voucher programs, as well as the means by which voucher programs could be designed to maximize each of the four criteria enumerated earlier. They then examine specific factors and philosophies, including libertarian vs. social contract views of government, the growing influence of ideology in education and the contentious nature of evidence on vouchers, to address the question of why strong opinions on vouchers predominate. (Henry M. Levin and Clive R. Belfield, National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, June 2004)...
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