Google full text of our books:


The Market Approach to Education:
An Analysis of America's First Voucher Program
John F. Witte

Paperback | 2001 | $39.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691089836
240 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 4 line illus. 32 tables, 2 maps
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400823314 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents

Google full text of this book:

Milwaukee, one of the nation's most segregated metropolitan areas, implemented in 1990 a school choice program aimed at improving the education of inner-city children by enabling them to attend a selection of private schools. The results of this experiment, however, have been overshadowed by the explosion of emotional debate it provoked nationwide. In this book, John Witte provides a broad yet detailed framework for understanding the Milwaukee experiment and its implications for the market approach to American education. In a society supposedly devoted to equality of opportunity, the concept of school choice or voucher programs raises deep issues about liberty versus equality, government versus market, and about our commitment to free and universal education. Witte brings a balanced perspective to the picture by demonstrating why it is wrongheaded to be pro- or anti-school choice in the abstract. He explains why the voucher program seems to be working in the specific case of Milwaukee, but warns that such programs would not necessarily promote equal education--and most likely harm the poor--if applied universally, across the socioeconomic spectrum.

The book begins with a theoretical discussion of the provision of education in America. It goes on to situate the issue of school choice historically and politically, to describe the program and private schools in Milwaukee, and to provide statistical analyses of the outcomes for children and their parents in the experiment. Witte concludes with some persuasive arguments about the importance of specifying the structural details of any choice program and with a call supporting vouchers for poor inner-city children, but not a universal program for all private schools.

Voucher programs continue to be the most controversial approach to educational reform. The Market Approach to Education provides a thorough review of where the choice debate stands through 1998. It not only includes the "Milwaukee story" but also provides an analysis of the role, history, and politics of court decisions in this most important First Amendment area.


"[Witte] was Wisconsin's 'official evaluator' of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the nation's first educational voucher program. . . .Witte describes in detail Milwaukee's experience, concluding that the program was successful, given its intent, but warning against using that success to justify other programs designed to satisfy different goals"--Booklist

"Less polemic than a tool to foster closer consideration of an idea whose time may or may not have come."--Kirkus Reviews

"Amid the welter of claims and counterclaims, it is heartening to hear the careful study of the voucher movement by John Witte."--Howard Gardner, New York Review of Books

"Of [particular] interest . . . is Witte's description of the historical context of the program, the competing agendas of advocates on both sides, and the political process involved in creating, operating and attempting to evaluate a voucher program in light of these diverse constituencies."--James G. Mulligan, Economics of Education Review

"Anyone interested in school choice should read this book. Though it is grounded in a detailed case study, the book's message resonates far beyond. . . . [It] transcends the predictable polemics that can overwhelm the choice debate."--Scott Davies, Contemporary Sociology


"The Market Approach to Education is passionate in identifying where the real problems in education reform lie, and in dismissing self-serving arguments that get in the way of helping children who desperately need help. The book's content is wide-ranging: it includes political philosophy, history, ethnographic case studies of particular schools, statistical analyses, and policy prescription. Readers from many fields can enjoy this work and learn from it."--Jennifer Hochschild, Harvard University

More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

List of Figures ix
List of Tables xi
Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xv
1. Introduction 3
2. The Enduring Controversy over Educational Choice 11
3. Educational Choice and the Milwaukee Voucher Program 29
Appendix to Chapter 3: Historical MPS Achievement Test Data 49
4. Who Participates in Choice Programs? 52
5. The Milwaukee Choice Schools 83
6. Outcomes of the Milwaukee Voucher Program 112
Appendix to Chapter 6: Modeling Selection Bias 152
7. The Politics of Vouchers 157
8. Implications and Conclusions 190
References 211

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Paperback : $39.95 ISBN: 9780691089836

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Paperback  £32.95 ISBN: 9780691089836

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 7/11/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Political Science And International Relations
    More Choices