• Provides the first ever book-length, historical treatment of school vouchers in the United States, focusing on the checkered origins of vouchers in New Orleans, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and rural New Hampshire
• Connects earlier justifications for school vouchers—in particular maintaining single-race schools and gaining tax support of parochial schools—to new justifications of responding to failing urban schools
• Gives voice to old and new advocates of school vouchers, from the 1950s through the present
• Considers the prospects of school vouchers in the 21st century
• Case studies describe, explain, and compare the origins of school vouchers in four states: Louisiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin
• Interviews with key participants in the debates over school vouchers, including Christopher Jencks and the late Milton Friedman
• Eight tables and graphs detail demographic and educational changes in New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Cleveland
• Four maps show the locations of voucher schools and programs in New Orleans, New Hampshire, Milwaukee, and Cleveland
• Photographs of student and parent supporters of school vouchers
• A bibliography of primary and secondary sources in urban history, history of education, and educational policy studies
"In this book, Jim Carl provides a remarkable historical account of the origins of the school voucher movement in the United States. He shows the variety of causes that have found expression in the voucher mechanism, from preserving segregation in the 1950s to promoting educational opportunity in the 2000s. But at the same time, he makes a convincing argument that at its core vouchers have been floating on the rising tide of conservatism, with its concerns about free markets, religious separatism, and consumer choice, and with its disdain for public schooling."
David F. Labaree, Professor of Education, Stanford University, author of Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling.