Generally speaking, proponents believe that vouchers give students and their parents a “choice” in the school they will attend, freeing them from the public school monopoly. Opponents believe that vouchers gut cash-strapped school district budgets, further impairing their ability to deliver educational services. Proponents respond that vouchers will lead to better educational outcomes. However, results from standardized achievement tests are touted by both sides to “prove” and “disprove” the thesis.
In a recent study, Matthew Chingos of the Brookings Institution and Paul Peterson of the Hoover Institution analyzed elementary school voucher recipients from 1k families in New York City in 1997. The researchers report that:
- minority students receiving the vouchers were 10% more likely to enroll in college than were minority students in traditional public schools; and,
- minority students receiving vouchers were 35% more likely to obtain a bachelor's degree.
While scores on standardized achievement tests are helpful to determine what students have and have not learned at various points during their elementary and secondary school years, the study conducted by Chingos and Peterson is important because it is longitudinal. That is, this study that indicates that provding students vouchers may have a long-term, postive impact upon their college graduation rates.
That’s certainly not good news for opponents of vouchers, the public school monopoly, and the public school teachers’ union bosses.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Chingos and Peterson study, click on the following link: