Educational Vouchers for Universal Pre-Schools

Published in: Economics of Education Review, v. 26, no.1, Feb. 2007, p. 3-16

Posted on RAND.org on February 01, 2007

by Henry M. Levin, Heather L. Schwartz

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This article considers two issues regarding preschool education. First, it provides a brief set of arguments for government funding of universal, pre-school education. Second, it explores the applicability of a voucher plan using a regulated market approach for the funding of universal, pre-school education. Four criteria are used to assess the approach: freedom of choice, equity, productive efficiency, and social cohesion. The analytic framework is then applied to the Georgia Pre-K program, a statewide and universal approach based upon market competition that enlists government, non-profit, and for-profit educational providers. We conclude that, according to the four criteria set out, the highly regulated Georgia pre-school approach appears to produce superior results than one built upon exclusive production of pre-school services by government entities.

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