INDIANAPOLIS, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As school choice continues to blossom nationwide, a new report finds that of all the “gold standard” research on children who utilize vouchers, 11 of 12 studies conclude all or some of those students achieve better educational outcomes. No study found choice participants were worse off than those remaining in traditional public schools.
The report also found that of the 23 empirical studies on how school choice impacts public education, 22 show the resulting competition improved public school performance. No research concluded school choice harms public schools.
“A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice”—released by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice—also reviewed empirical research related to school choice’s impact on taxpayers, diversity, and civic values. That research consistently supports school choice in those areas.
“A Win-Win Solution” examines studies on school choice conducted by scholars at research institutions including the University of Arkansas, Harvard University, the Federal Reserve Bank, Stanford University, and Cornell University.
“Despite decades of carping by skeptics, vouchers and school choice in any form are a win-win for children—whether they attend private school or remain in a public school affected by school choice,” saidRobert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “Competition works in all segments of our society, and it certainly helps children when they’re permitted to attend a school that fits their needs.”
According to the Friedman Foundation report, seven of the eight existing studies on racial segregation found giving parents educational freedom moves students into more integrated schools. All six of the studies on how school choice affects public finances conclude it saves taxpayers money.
In addition, the report cites the seven empirical studies on civic values, five of which show that school choice strengthens students’ commitment to democratic principles, while two found no visible impact. No research found school choice adversely impacts diversity, taxpayers, or civic values.
“This research on school choice far exceeds the research on any other education reform,” said Greg Forster, author of the report and senior fellow with the Friedman Foundation. “School choice has a strong track record in how it affects students, public schools, taxpayers, diversity, and civic values. Seeing its impressive record with small programs, there is good reason to believe broader school choice programs would produce better results, and on a much larger scale.”
There are 41 school choice programs in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Among those programs, the most prominent are vouchers and tax-credit scholarships, which are serving more than 250,000 students. School choice has exhibited continual growth since 1990, when the nation’s first modern voucher program launched in Milwaukee. In the past two years, five new states have adopted private school choice while other states, most notably Indiana and Louisiana, expanded existing programs.