Feb 21 2013
01:22 am


Thorough overview on vouchers in Metro Pulse. Thanks CWG for all the research and for talking to people who would be affected by these proposals.

In case you don't have time to read it all, I oppose school vouchers!

Stick's picture

I like that CWG interviewed

I like that CWG interviewed community stakeholders, however she was hood-winked by the expert she chose. Patrick Wolf has an endowed chair in school choice at the Walton funded Univ. of Ark. choice program. Despite the confidence Wolf demonstrates, in the world of peer-reviewed academic scholarship there is little evidence that voucher programs [or charters for that matter] do much of anything but sort student populations. If he was intellectually honest, he would have at least stated that the assertion that choice programs produce higher academic results is controversial in academic literature. My review of the literature is pretty clear. The Milwaukee voucher program has produced no real academic gains. For example.

If you go international, you will see that Milton Friedman's own plan for school vouchers was put into place in Chile back in 81: See 1 & 2 No gains, just student sorting. Sweden did the same in the 90's: See 1 & 2 No gains, just student sorting. Not to mention that Sweden has been dropping like a stone on the PISA assessment over the past decade from a top performer to being on par with the US.

So, no, the gains are not real. By the way, Wolf trained in political science.

cwg's picture

Actually, re: Milwaukee, Wolf

Actually, re: Milwaukee, Wolf has a forthcoming paper that shows the last year he studied there were academic gains. Because of space reasons, I had to conflate the results of a number of studies he talked about with general trends across all studies in the field, several of which were not by Wolf. (And yes, I did look at the actual studies myself.) The gains are small, and mostly limited to the African-American students (and possibly Hispanic students too), but they do exist. But I think I made it also clear that there's no way of knowing if those small gains in certain city school districts will happen in a statewide program.

But feel free to write a letter to the editor with your knowledge. We love letters to the editor.

Stick's picture

Yes, I'm aware of the

Yes, I'm aware of the articles he has coming out. They are built on the Univ. of Ark. reports being reviewed in the first link I provided you, which are highly problematic. There is a long history of studies on choice programs, and the 'science' is no where near settled. Even raw test scores show no evidence of gains in Milwaukee. You chose one person whose job is tied to carrying the water of interested parties.

Again, if you look at the literature as a whole, there is no way that anyone can say categorically that the results are real. The only thing that we can say with confidence is that school choice leads to student sorting. That much is clear.

cwg's picture

I am serious. We'd love an

I am serious. We'd love an letter to the editor laying out all the knowledge, you have, which sounds like a lot. (But, for the record, I wasn't "hoodwinked" by Wolf - the job of reporting is to present different sides of the argument.)

Stick's picture

But you only provided one

But you only provided one perspective, at least one with credentials. The other expert weighed in on the constitutional question...

Stick's picture

I think I made it also clear

I think I made it also clear that there's no way of knowing if those small gains in certain city school districts will happen in a statewide program.

That's why I provided you with some links to see how vouchers perform on a national scale.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


From Cari's article:

Proponents of a more inclusive voucher plan will say that one’s zip code shouldn’t determine one’s educational future.

Zip Code Choice now!

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