Civitas Review

School choice: what do parents know?

By | Posted in Education |

For years now it seemed the litmus test for the school choice debate has been whether choice students outperform their counterparts on standardized tests.  The sad truth was in some cases,  choice students weren't outperforming students in traditional public schools. Despite these realities,  parents who chose to send their children to schools where academic improvement has been minimal or nonexistent have continued to show high levels of satisfaction.  The sentiment has helped to propel  the choice movement.  And the disconnect has frustrated and intrigued educators.

Last week in a provocative blog post, Rick Hess, weighed in and asked:  Are test scores the right measure to judge how kids benefit from school choice? Hess raised the question in response to a new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper which examined results of the nearly decade-old open enrollment initiative of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.  The report found substantial long-term gains for the participating students and yielded higher graduation rates.

Hess continued:

They were able to track the results for nearly 20,000 students after high school graduation, and reported that students who won the lottery to attend a school outside their own neighborhood were more likely “ to graduate from high school, attend a four-year college, and earn a bachelors degree from an elite university.” The researchers found no evidence of “cream skimming” and noted that lottery winners closed nearly a quarter of the black-white difference in college completion.

Interesting. However impressive the results are, we need to remember they aren’t captured in the annual standardized test scores.

Several years ago I blogged about a study that found participants in the Milwaukee school choice program were 18 percent more likely to graduate than students in the traditional public schools.

Yet more evidence why NC law makers  should offer school choice for parents and students in North Carolina.

2 Comments on this post

  • aynrandfacist says:
    Nov 04 at 17:01

    A few facts to consider… Charters have never-ever been proven to outperform public schools, look at the the Durham charter schools' dismal failures… even in Milwaukee this from the states own study.."The academic researchers hired by the state to examine the results later tried to fuzz up those numbers, saying some children do about the same.But the fact remains we’ve spent billions of tax dollars for private school vouchers over 21 years, and private schools aren’t any more successful than public schools in educating children of color and closing the state’s appalling black-white achievement gap.

    The voucher results look even worse when you consider private schools routinely shun special needs children, leaving them to the public schools to educate.

    According to the researchers, only a minuscule 1.5 percent of voucher students have special needs, compared to nearly 20 percent of MPS students."

  • aynrandfacist says:
    Nov 04 at 17:08

    more info. on MI charters.."Look at what has happened in Milwaukee, where researchers used to argue about whether vouchers were working. The argument is over. After 20 years of vouchers, even voucher advocates admit that students in voucher schools are doing no better than students in regular public schools and students in charters. And all three sectors are doing poorly. The theory of vouchers and charters is that competition will cause achievement to go up in public schools, and a rising tide will lift all boats. But according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, black students in Milwaukee public schools score below black students in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. And voucher students do no better! So voucher advocates now say that the goal of vouchers is not to improve test scores but to increase parental involvement or to provide choice for its own sake. That is called moving the goal posts."
    or just complete BS… you decide or just follow the money most so called advocates of "choice" are connected to privitizing education for personal gain… and we all know how well privitization has worked for airlines, prisons etc… costs go way up services go way down but someone gets a huge payday..

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