Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Voucher Tests Show No Change. So Why have Two Competing Systems?

Voucher testing is proving that the advocates wrong: Students aren’t getting a better education. Results have shown students are doing as well, and in some cases worse, as their public student’s counterparts. Although the argument now has changed, that vouchers students only cost half of what public schools need, that doesn’t account for the size of the system and cost related to that. There are other reasons listed below, but the news isn’t good out of Florida.

The St. Petersburg Times: Supporters often say school vouchers are lifelines to low-income students trapped in subpar public schools. But academically, students using vouchers to attend private schools in Florida are doing no better and no worse than similar students in public schools, says a study ordered by the state Legislature.
"We consider the report a validation of what we've always said," said Mark Pudlow, a spokesman for the
state teachers union. "There is no quick fix for struggling students."

Northwestern University economics professor David Figlio compared test scores of students in the voucher program to eligible public school students who opted not to participate. Mr. Figlio found students in the Corporate Tax Credit voucher program performed no better or worse academically than voucher-eligible students who chose to stay in public school. They claim Figlio's study demonstrates private schools can provide an equivalent education to poor children for less money. The voucher costs taxpayers $3,950 while public school per-pupil spending is $7,000. But that argument ignores the children who lose due to the voucher program siphoning money away from their public schools.

Not only does the voucher siphon money away, but the states general tax fund is greatly reduced. The state offers businesses a dollar-for-dollar tax credit in return for donations. That skews the numbers dramatically. Also consider the following comment.
Jim from Orlando: Money issue is a lie. $7000 is the average per student including much higher funding for ESE students and special programs for which CTS students are generally not eligible. Public school CTS students are funded at about the amount of the voucher.

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