Although test scores are not the best measure of the efficacy of schooling, vouchers were sold as a vehicle to improve test scores. That has not happened according to multiple studies – the latest of which is reported in The New York Times.
Math scores among students who used the vouchers were roughly seven percentage points lower than students who were not selected. The negative academic effect was even more pronounced for students who were not attending a low-performing school when they were awarded the vouchers – their scores were 14.6 percentage points lower in reading and 18.3 percentage points lower in math – and for students in elementary school.
So why SB 85-the universal publicly-funded voucher bill for Ohio?
And why is U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos pressing Congress to appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars to expand voucher programs?
Because a politically-clamorous minority just prefers private over common schools. Some really detest the concept of a common system in which all the children of all the people are entitled to attend and required to attend if they do not attend an authorized alternative.
In every generation, citizens have been entitled to opt out of the common school at their own expense. But in recent decades, public funds have been made available for private choices. A sidebar result is a growing “choice” constituency that is hostile to the very idea of all children being educated in the common system. This does not bode well for communities, states or the nation.