The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
The Outreach and Education function engages, empowers and educates the Second District communities that the Bank serves, especially civic leaders, students, educators, small business owners, policymakers and the general public. It furthers the Bank's commitment to the region by listening to the communities we serve and leveraging our unique attributes to positively impact school and university programs, as well as analysis and research.
In an effort to reform K-12 education, policymakers have introduced school vouchers—scholarships that make students eligible to transfer from public to private schools—in some U.S. school districts. This article analyzes two such educational interventions in the United States: the Milwaukee and Florida voucher programs. Under the Milwaukee program, vouchers were imposed from the outset, so that all low-income public school students became eligible for vouchers to transfer to private schools. In contrast, schools in the Florida program were only threatened with vouchers, with students of a particular school becoming eligible for vouchers only if the school received two “F” grades in a period of four years. Unlike the Milwaukee schools, Florida schools therefore had an incentive to avoid vouchers. Using school-level data from Florida and Wisconsin, this study shows that the performance effects of the threatened public schools under the Florida program have exceeded those of corresponding schools in Milwaukee. The lessons of the study are broadly applicable to New York City's educational reform efforts.