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School Choice Boosts Test Scores

Education Next – Patrick J. Wolf

“Private school choice remains a controversial education reform. Choice programs, involving school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, or Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), provide financial support to families who wish to access private schooling for their child…there are now 50 private school choice programs in 26 states plus the District of Columbia…But does it work?…The sum of the reliable evidence indicates that, on average, private school choice increases the reading scores of choice users by about 0.27 standard deviations and their math scores by 0.15 standard deviations. These are highly statistically significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.”(more)

Straw Men and Choice Regulation

Education Next – Jay P. Greene

“Neerav Kingsland is smart, honest, and, in a positive development for ed philanthropy, is now leading education efforts at the Arnold Foundation. I enjoyed his response to my series on the dangers of high regulation of school choice (it started here, and then had parts 1, 2, 3, and 4). But the bulk of the critical response from Neerav and others seemed to focus on defeating a straw man rather than what I actually wrote. They depict me as arguing against any regulation when my post was explicitly against “high-regulation” of school choice.”(more)

Nevada’s Voucher Program: The Next Legal Battle in the War for Parental Choice

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“There is widespread public support for Nevada’s landmark statewide Education Savings Accounts, a public opinion poll finds, as the controversial proposal prepares for its journey through the state court system. According to a survey of about 600 residents, 61 percent of Nevadans support the ESA, which was described as a program that “uses state funds to create a personal account to fund education expenses, including tutoring, testing fees and books.” There was majority support among respondents of all political affiliations and among union households. The Nevada survey was conducted just prior to the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filing suit two weeks ago to block the program on the grounds that it violates provisions in the state constitution banning state support of religious activities and requiring a “uniform system of common schools.” The American Federation for Children, which recently sponsored The Seventy Four’s New Hampshire Education Summit, commissioned the poll. It was conducted by The Tarrance Group, a Republican-aligned polling firm.”(more)

Douglas Co. school board to take voucher ruling to U.S Supreme Court

The Denver Post – Kirk Mitchell

“The Douglas County school board will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to allow it to use taxpayer money to send children to private schools. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in June that no public funds can be used to aid or support any “sectarian” institution. “The ruling by Colorado’s highest court paves the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to evaluate the constitutionality of Colorado’s Blaine Amendment, which is an ugly part of no fewer than 37 state constitutions,” Douglas County Board of Education President Kevin Larsen said in a news release Wednesday.”(more)

What Do Americans Really Think About Education Policy?

The Atlantic – Mikhail Zinshteyn and Emily Richmond

“Getting a read on the American public’s views on education is no easy task, made more complicated by just how much local schools vary. In a country with more than 13,000 school districts that enroll nearly 50 million students, a range of experiences and perspectives are to be expected. According to two polls released this month by different organizations, U.S. adults maintain divergent views on some of the most controversial topics in public education today. For both policymakers and political candidates, the poll results at times say conflicting things, even if the questions were worded differently.”(more)

Study finds housing vouchers best way to keep kids in same school

The Seattle Times – Caitlin Moran

“More than 30,000 students in Washington’s public schools — or about one per classroom — do not have a reliable place to sleep at night, and are therefore classified as homeless. These students experience a range of problems from psychological stress to hunger and lack of health care. They are also more likely to change schools frequently, which hurts their academic performance and can lead to behavior problems. The obvious solution is to help their families find stable housing, and a new study from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development concludes that the best way to do that is to provide families with permanent housing subsidies. In the study, produced in partnership with Vanderbilt University, researchers tracked about 2,200 homeless families for a minimum of three years.”(more)