Friday, March 25, 2011

Do Vouchers Work?

This study says they do, but the source isn't exactly unbiased. That doesn't mean the report is incorrect or can be dismissed, just that it must be reviewed critically:
This report collects the results of all available empirical studies using the best available scientific methods to measure how school vouchers affect academic outcomes for participants, and all available studies on how vouchers affect outcomes in public schools. Contrary to the widespread claim that vouchers do not benefit participants and hurt public schools, the empirical evidence consistently shows that vouchers improve outcomes for both participants and public schools. In addition to helping the participants by giving them more options, there are a variety of explanations for why vouchers might improve public schools as well. The most important is that competition from vouchers introduces healthy incentives for public schools to improve.

22 comments:

Mavor said...

Are you in favor of vouchers only for poor students or,like Rick Scott, for everyone? I say this because I pay a ton of money for my son's private high school and I would like a break from the government. Let me see, in Calif. the per pupil funding is what $8,000, $9,000? If I got a voucher for $9,000, that would almost pay half of his tuition. I wonder how the taxpayers would feel about paying half of my son's tuition at an expensive school that they, even with the voucher, would not be able to afford? Plus, my son would not have to go to school with any ELL students or many minorities either. What a deal. Of course Darren, you know my tongue is in my cheek, but all the facts I have presented are true.

mazenko said...

Arguably, they don't work any better than open enrollment policies and charter/magnet schools. Yet, there are potentially more downsides to the voucher's overall effect on the districts.

Darren said...

I support vouchers.

Darren said...

I don't give a damn about their effects on districts, I care about the students.

Mavor said...

If given a voucher, Darren, how many students at your school do you think would leave?

Darren said...

I have no idea.

But I'd consider banding with others and starting my own school. I've run the numbers, and it's eminently doable.

Mavor said...

That is interesting Darren. Let me ask you another question. How many teachers at your school, percentage wise, would you, if you were the principal, let go for poor performance?

Mavor said...

I too am for vouchers, but I feel uncomfortable with the idea of giving then to everybody. Some how it seem democratic to give someone like me the same amount as a poor person and allow me to send my son to a very expensive school that they could not afford.

Darren said...

The school I'd create wouldn't cost any more than the voucher. In fact, I'd turn a little profit because I wouldn't have all the overhead of a school district.

As for how many I'd let go for poor performance, very, very few. I don't think lousy teachers is the biggest cause for what ails public education. The biggest cause is societal; our schools are a microcosm of the society from which we draw our students.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Of course vouchers work.

What ails public education is that it's public education, i.e. socialist in nature. That means it's afflicted with all the usual problems that afflict any socialist function that's better performed by the market - inefficiency, inefficiency that's seen as a plus, indifference to ineffectiveness, relentlessly rising costs coupled with, at best, flat performance.

mazenko said...

If you care about the students, D., then you would consider my concern that the same positives are achieved in charter/magnet/open enrollment without the downsides affecting other "students." If you care about "students," you should consider all students, and not simply those whose parents seek vouchers. If you care about students, you might not support a voucher system that endorses schools being allowed to refuse service to some of those students and accept state money with no requirement that they adhere to standards such as reporting of student progress.

Your care about "students" seems rather thin.

Darren said...

Your assumptions about what I support prove all but the last two words of the old saying: "When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME."

Darren said...

Lest you think that comment a bit harsh, I'm getting tired of being personally attacked, both here and elsewhere.

mazenko said...

Ha!

I know - just responding to the brevity of your response.

Your care and concern for the best education for all is not in doubt, and your ideas about society and culture's role in the successes and failures are valid as well.

Allen - socialism rants again? Really? Tell that to Finland, Sweden, Germany, Japan, and every other country besting us in test scores. Can you get past ideology for once and actually cite real world experience.

I call upon the words of our second President, John Adams, who wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson "Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant." (Thoughts on Government, 1776).

Adams and Jefferson - not socialists.

MikeAT said...

And Darren, on the old saying leave the "ME" out of it...remember you ain't doing the assuming so you ain't the rear end.

Mavor said...

Be strong Darren, not everyone is brave enough to blog.

Mavor said...

Mazenko, What a great quote.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Oh Mike, you ought to know better by now.

Sweden? Now that'd be the Sweden that's going wild for vouchers, right? And you know what's wrong with vouchers, don't you? They're the first, or maybe the second or third step, on the slippery slope to privatization. A rich guy like Mavor might feel pangs of egalitarian guilt but when it comes to Mavor Jr. there aren't quite a few more lefties who are willing to compromise their principles then there are who'll subject their kid to the doubtful equity of the district school system.

Finland? Oh yeah. They're quite a bit better then the U.S.

Uh Mike, that's damning by faint praise, sadly enough. Germany's not as good as we are and worse then Finland. Japan? Again, better then the U.S. but so what? Not all that much better. And of course we spend, oh, a lot more money then those guys.

As for Jefferson, leave him alone. He did more then enough and misrepresenting a passing notion as supportive of socialism misses the obvious fact that he was certainly in a position, if he felt strongly enough about tax-supported education, to do something about it. You know, the Constitution and all that stuff?

Besides, aren't you liberals always dinging Jefferson for owning slaves? You know, fruit of the poisoned tree and all that?

Who cares what thoughts Jefferson had about education? He owned slaves! Everything Jefferson said and did is tainted by that fact, isn't it?

mazenko said...

Allen, that is the most convoluted and least effective response I've seen from you in years.

Conclusion? You don't have a point.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Har!

To my posts you've made no substantive response so you'd like to claim there was nothing to respond to.

But let me be clear since you chose a no-response response.

Vouchers will first undercut the central feature of the American public education system - the school district - and then bring about the end of the system. You're already nervous about the future what with a left-wing Democrat in the White House advocating for the sorts of changes that don't bolster the status quo but you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Which is why you can't make any worthwhile response.

mazenko said...

When the drunk on the street corner starts babbling about conspiracy theories and other nonsense, I stop trying to reason with him, too.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Well when the drunk on the street corner mentions that Obama told the NEA to get stuffed when they tried to get him to fire Arne Duncan, because Duncan is running around talking up vouchers and charters and accountability and parental choice, you might want to look in a mirror.

What you'll see staring back is the sort of hard-faced disapproval that attends the dawning awareness of a distinctly unappetizing but inescapable truth.