Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We’re Destroying Public Schools for “no clear academic benefit for voucher users!!!”

It appears that instead of improving the quality of public schools, we’re determined to complicate education with the creation of parallel school systems that need just as much oversight, with no actual benefit.
jsonline: A review of major studies on school voucher programs concludes that vouchers have not strongly affected student achievement and that the rhetoric used to support vouchers has shifted over the past 10 years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center for Education Progress.

"The major finding across all the studies was that there was no clear academic benefit for voucher users," said Alexandra Usher, a research assistant for the nonprofit and independent center in Washington, D.C. The national review examines 27 major studies on voucher programs since 2000 from a variety of cities, including Milwaukee. Usher said a finding supported by fewer studies was that the high school graduation rates were higher for voucher users. In Milwaukee, she said, that rate lost some significance when controlled for family background, such as two-parent households.

But the party of “creative destruction,” personified by the Walker administration, is plowing ahead anyway.

Its release comes amid a major expansion of Milwaukee's voucher program to more families and schools in more geographic areas in Wisconsin, and movement on vouchers in other states.

The argument for the expansion of the voucher program has shifted, including the idea it’s cheaper than public schools, parents know better and …

Usher said another finding was the change in rhetoric … vouchers were promoted as a way to give disadvantaged children in failing public school systems a chance at a better education … "Now it's been more of a shift to choice for choice's sake," or because parents reported that they were satisfied, she said.

Parents were satisfied, yes (despite no grade improvement), but I recall also that the kids surveyed weren’t happy at all with their voucher school. Oh, and one more thing to keep in mind as the public and choice groups become bigger players in forming public opinion.  

The Center for Education Progress' review also notes that more of the newer voucher research has been conducted by entities with a pro-voucher position.

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