Ohio Public School Students Outscore Private School Voucher Students
School choice advocates are shocked, but see the glass half full.
Scores of Ohio parents are using public-funded vouchers to pull their kids out of low-performing public schools and give them a private education. Many of those parents now feel disappointed.
A new study found that Ohio public school students outperform their private school peers on state reading and math exams, reports The Columbus Dispatch.
“Those students, on average, who move to private schools under the EdChoice (voucher) program tend to perform considerably worse than observationally similar students who remained in public schools,” the report stated, according to The Dispatch.
The results are “disappointing,” Chad Aldis, a vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, told the newspaper. His organization, which supports school choice, commissioned the study.
According to The Dispatch, researchers compared voucher students to their “closely matched peers” who stayed in public schools that were eligible for vouchers. The study covered the 2003-04 school year to the 2012-13 school year.
Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program launched in 2006 and provides vouchers to 20,000 low-income students. The program costs taxpayers $94.6 million. It pays up to $4,650 a year for K-8 students and as much as $6,000 for high school students, the newspaper reports.
Although Aldis is disappointed, he and many others in the school choice camp are looking at the glass half-full.
“For years, voucher critics have argued that students staying in public schools were hurt by voucher programs. It’s heartening to see that healthy competition can improve achievement,” he told The Dispatch.
It’s validation to them that competition improves education outcomes. Ohio has about 40,000 fully funded but unused vouchers. Many families have declined the offer. That suggests to school choice supporters that the flight of some students created competition that encouraged the public schools to improve.