Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vouchers do poorly, do well, Just like public schools.

How are voucher schools doing against public schools in Ohio? The results again are mixed, and actual apples to apples comparisons still haven't been done. The Columbus Dispatch:
The statewide comparison of voucher to public-school students isn't all that usefull … It pits students who use vouchers to avoid academically troubled public schools against the entire state's public schools, most of which aren't allowed to offer vouchers.

More helpful to families would be a comparison of voucher students and the public schools they'd otherwise attend, he said.

On the whole, Ohio students who used tax-funded vouchers to attend private schools last school year did no better on state tests than public-school students. That was true in the Columbus City Schools, too, where district students outperformed voucher students on seven of 12 standardized tests. The public-school students bested their private-school counterparts most often in math. But middle-school voucher students had better passing rates, particularly on last school year's state reading exams.

The test-passing rates are only a snapshot. There's no way to tell from the rates alone whether middle-school students fared better in private schools in Columbus because the private schools are superior to district schools or because the students already were high-performing. By law, the department was told to report how students performed based on how long they've been using a voucher; compare how poor children did; and disclose the performance of voucher students by private school.

The reports don't include those breakdowns because doing so might make it possible to identify students, which is illegal, a state spokeswoman said.

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