Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning (MATL)

Directing Professor

Deborah Jessee


School-choice has met opposition at the state level of politics in recent years despite growing support for all the policies covered under that broad category — Educational Savings Accounts, Tax-Credit scholarships, charter schools, and vouchers to name the primary policy options — from the voting public as well as the parents with children in schools. Because the predominant audience for reviews has been directed to state legislators, there is a gap that needs filling. That gap should be aimed at federal legislators and executive members to re-consider the purpose of the United States' universal public education in order that we might strengthen weaknesses of choice programs, strengthen strong performers, bolster those in the middle, and, ultimately, improve the traditional public school options.

The literature on school-choice can be divided into four categories: (1) Statistical Analysis of the efficacy of programs, (2) Curriculum reform, (3) Social reform, and (4) Social imaginary reform. A clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each literature type naturally leads to a realization that states and localities are in need of some help to infuse their struggling schools with funding, offer tweaks to their middling programs, and to allow their strong districts to keep doing what they are doing well. The current system that funds localities do not help traditional public schools in high-poverty areas.

Ideally, this literature review unveils the weaknesses of the funding system for education would accomplish a few things:

  1. It would clarify the purpose of education and allow for localities or states to make that decision,

  2. It would generate research for potential funding mechanisms for under-funded schools,

  3. It would alleviate the stress on existing schools in under-funded districts by encouraging successful school-choice options, and

  4. It would clarify the most successful school-choice policies to apply

The implications for policy are simple, school-choice is a viable option to relieve stress on existing schools that are performing poorly. Finding ways to encourage a both/and process that funds struggling schools and provides options for parents whose children are stuck in failing schools would best serve the people.