School Vouchers Do Work

May 21st, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Issues, Politics & Current Events

The present administration in Washington is against school vouchers and even permitted the very popular and demonstrably effective voucher program in the District of Columbia to die.  But Obama resurrected that program as a part of the deal he struck with the Republican Party over the 2011 budget.  What evidence is there that vouchers serve students well and give parents a valid option for educating their children?

  1. In the District of Columbia, voucher recipients, who number more than 3,330 in the D.C. area, made gains in reading scores and did not decline in math.
  2. A University of Arkansas study demonstrated that D.C. voucher recipients had graduation rates of 91%.  That is significantly higher than the D.C. public school average of 56%.  This is especially important because high school dropouts are eight times more likely to wind up behind bars.  Some 60% of black high school dropouts in their 30s have prison records.  And nearly one in four young black male dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention.
  3. A recent study of Milwaukee?s older and larger voucher program found that 94% of students who stayed in the program throughout high school graduated, versus just 75% of students in Milwaukee?s traditional public high schools.  Vouchers foster healthy competition.
  4. Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal reports that ?every empirical study ever conducted in Milwaukee, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Maine and Vermont finds that voucher programs in those places improved public schools.?

This is compelling evidence.  Vouchers give parents and their children an option for a quality education.  The evidence summarized above shows that it works.  Why would those who make public policy not support vouchers on an even more widespread basis?  The only answer is politics.  The NEA and other teacher unions do not support vouchers?and they raise a lot of money and a lot of votes for the current administration.  That is not leadership that benefits our children.  That is raw politics that only benefits one group of union employees.

See Riley?s editorial in the Wall Street Journal (3 May 2011). PRINT PDF

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