Abstract and Keywords
In the thirty years since Wisconsin enacted the nation’s first private school choice program, the footprint of private school choice has expanded to cover over half of states and the District of Columbia. During the same time, the closure of faith-based schools serving disadvantaged children has continued apace. These schools likely will continue to disappear, especially from our urban communities, unless the scope of, and participation in, private school choice increases rather dramatically in years to come. The effects of increasing the public funds available to attend private and faith-based schools likely will be shaped by myriad factors, including the mechanisms employed to distribute the funds, amount of money distributed, the programmatic and regulatory details, the preferences of parents, and the participation rates of different kinds of schools. That said, choice mechanisms and program regulations also will shape participation rates in private school choice and other alternatives to public schools, such as homeschooling. Not all support such an expansion, but those who do—and who value the pluralism provided by faith-based schools—must come to terms with the issues discussed in this chapter.
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