School Choice Action

In DC the Wash Post editorial board weighs-in on the fate of the federal voucher program there and don’t miss this pretty hot letter to Secretary Duncan over the whole thing (pdf).   

Meanwhile in LA Macke Raymond (ES Board chair) with three smart reccomendations on policy, charters, and quality.*    And a new Brookings report on expanding choice and some levers for doing so.

There is also a new report from Gary Orfield moving this morning about charters and demographics. (Read the WaPo’s take here).   Less there than meets the eye, or more precisely than meets the rhetoric.  But one point that probably won’t get made in the back and forth:  In more diverse communities, for instance parts of D.C., an emerging problem is the efforts some really good charters have to make in order to have both a blind admissions process and a lot of low-income kids — because they’re generally mission-focused on low-income youngsters.  In other words some schools are starting to gentrify and are having to double-down on recruitment efforts.  In some juridsictions a school can weight low-income students extra in the lottery to improve their odds but that clashes with federal policy creating problems for schools receiving federal charter dollars.

*For more on ideas like these as well as others check out this paper (pdf).

Update:   Be sure to check out Will Marshall on all this.  He gets into the wayback machine.

Update II:  DFER is to the point.

Update III:   From The Economist, ouch!

2 Replies to “School Choice Action”

  1. Andy, do you know which study WaPo is citing that suggests the program is “working”? Most of what I’ve read seems to say that parent satisfaction and perceived safety increase among voucher students, but the academic achievement was flat.

  2. Sara,
    maybe this is the study Jo-Ann Armao was referring to:
    The study, titled “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on How Vouchers Affect Public Schools,” analyzed “all available empirical studies on how vouchers affect academic performance in public schools.”

    It found that 16 of 17 empirical studies show that vouchers actually improve public schools, while the one remaining study found that vouchers had no visible impact on public schools. Significantly, that one study, in Washington DC, was also the only study conducted on a voucher program that intentionally protects public schools from the impact of competition.
    Full study here:

    On the other hand, there’s this:
    The study, which is indeed rigorous, shows the same small advances in reading among voucher kids as in comparable non-voucher kids. There were no differences in math. Please see pages v and vi in the executive summary:

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