This literature review examines the findings of international and New Zealand research on education systems which use the main elements of the voucher approach to education: parental choice, per-student funding formulae, and self-managing schools.
The voucher approach assumes that parental (consumer) choice and provider competition - that is, a market approach - will improve education and make it more efficient. The evidence does not support this assumption. Instead, it shows that voucher approaches result in greater inequality of educational opportunity, with no gain in student achievement, and sometimes a decline for students from low-income homes.
Voucher systems that try to counter these impacts cost more than other approaches to providing education. They also need more, not less, regulation of schools.