School Vouchers

School vouchers are certificates that are given to parents that allow them to transfer the money that would have been spent on their child's public school to a private school, allowing parents to enroll their children in private schools at a reduced cost. Advocates of vouchers argue that the voucher system gives parents a choice in where to send their children and creates competition among schools. If schools are competing for students, the argument goes, they would be motivated to increase their quality to attract the most students. Critics of the voucher plan argue that withdrawing funds from already compromised public schools would only further weaken the public school system. In addition, vouchers would only allow a small fraction of those desiring to leave a failing school to do so, for two reasons: 1) Many voucher plans are based on a lottery system, offering only a small number of vouchers; 2) Vouchers typically do not cover the entire cost of private school tuition, meaning that poorer students will be stuck in the failing schools. Finally, critics of the voucher program are concerned that vouchers spent at religious private schools might violate the separation of church and state because vouchers use tax dollars. What are the major voucher proposals, and what evidence exists that would allow us to evaluate whether they might be effective?
Some web resources:

For School Vouchers:

School Choices

What Would a School Voucher Buy? from the Cato Institute

The Debate over the School Choice and voucher philosophy

Against School Vouchers:

The National Education Association

People for the American Way

Americans United for Separation of Church and State