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Will Pursuit of Higher Quality Sacrifice Equal Opportunity in Education? An Analysis of the Education Voucher System in Santiago

Taryn Rounds Parry
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 77, No. 4 (December 1996), pp. 821-841
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42863534
Page Count: 21
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Will Pursuit of Higher Quality Sacrifice Equal Opportunity in Education? An Analysis of the Education Voucher System in Santiago
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Abstract

Objective. School choice has become a popular prescription for education reform. The purpose of this research is to analyze the impact of a "real world" voucher system on equal opportunity. This voucher system was implemented in Chile beginning in 1980. Methods. The data in this analysis were gathered from a random sample of 50 school principals in ten different municipalities in Santiago. One hypothesis developed in this paper is that competition between schools will induce them to screen potential students carefully by avoiding low coproducers— students with less ability or less interest in learning. Second, it is hypothesized that private schools will be more likely to adopt student selection policies. Results. As hypothesized, a large portion of schools used student selection policies such as entrance exams or minimum grades, and private schools were more likely to use such policies. However, some public schools also adopted selection policies. Conclusions. While school choice and voucher schemes may improve the quality of education, caution must be exercised in implementing these schemes to prevent sacrificing equity in education.

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