In response to our story earlier this week on school vouchers, one commenter suggested that vouchers were turning public schools into “second class” institutions:
“This is engineering that makes public schools second class, bad schools, for “those kids” that aren’t good enough for private schools.”
Fortunately, we have this brand new national report on vouchers from the Center on Education Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based, independent research and advocacy group. Based on limited studies of voucher programs in Milwaukee, Ohio and Florida, CEP reports that:
“In some cities or states with voucher programs, gains in student achievement were greater in public schools most affected by voucher competition than in other public schools.”
However, before you breath a sigh of relief and let out a cheer for vouchers, two caveats apply: it’s not clear that the voucher-affected public schools’ improvements were due to vouchers, CEP says, since schools most affected by vouchers are the same ones “targeted for intensive interventions due to consistently low performance.” And the CEP report reexamines a small number of studies with varying methodologies. So while there is some evidence that vouchers don’t hurt academic performance of “sending” public schools, it’s not conclusive.