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Bruce Baker, an expert on school finance at Rutgers University, dissects a proposal for vouchers (“education savings accounts”) offered by the Manhattan Institute, a rightwing think tank.he concludes that the proposal was poorly thought out and loaded with negative consequences.
The Manhattan Institute’s report promotes Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) by demonstrating that taxpayer expense would fall if the program motivated families to move children from public schools funded by the state to private schools funded primarily by families. However, the report conveniently fails to note a large body of recent, rigorous research demonstrating that similar private school choice, or “voucher,” programs have had significant negative effects on student outcomes. In addition, the report overstates short-term reductions that local districts can achieve, and it sidesteps potential long-term harm to adequate funding for them. Thus, the report provides little or no useful guidance on the broader question of whether an ESA policy is desirable or would be good policy for New York State’s children or taxpayers.