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Article On School Choice Ignores Key Evidence

Education Next – Patrick J. Wolf

“University of Kansas Professor Yong Zhao has jumped into the school choice debate with his recent essay in the Phi Delta Kappan. Welcome, Dr. Zhao. Zhao makes several important claims about private school choice. He says that researchers who are proponents of school choice exaggerate the positive tilt of the findings. He claims that the debate over the achievement effects of school choice has largely ignored substantial variation in those effects across student subgroups. Finally, he concludes that we know almost nothing about the effects that school choice has on civic outcomes but should expect those effects to be negative.” (more)

Vouchers, Virtual Schools & Armed Volunteers: What Florida’s New Education Reform Trifecta Could Mean for School Choice in the Sunshine State

The 74 Million – Beth Hawkins

“Never mind that the Florida Legislature won’t gavel its lightning-speed 2019 session open for several weeks — dozens of education-related bills are already being heard in committee meetings. And once the House and Senate convene March 6, the agenda is expected to be heavy with state Sen. Manny Diaz Jr.’s education priorities.” (more)

Public Support Climbs for Teacher Pay, School Expenditures, Charter Schools, and Universal Vouchers

Education Next – Albert Cheng, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West

“Education’s political landscape has shifted dramatically over the past year. To the consternation of most school-district officials, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos used the bully pulpit to promote charter schools, vouchers, and tax credits for private-school scholarships. To the distress of teachers unions, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Illinois law requiring government workers who elect not to become union members to pay representation fees. To the chagrin of civil-rights groups, the U.S. Department of Education said that it was reviewing a letter sent to school districts by the Obama administration informing them that they were at risk of incurring a civil-rights violation if students of color were suspended or expelled more often than their peers.” (more)

Vouchers Tend to Serve the Less Advantaged

Education Next – Corey DeAngelis

“Earlier this month, Education Next hosted a forum on the research concerning private-school choice. One of the topics discussed was the question of who participates in these programs. Patrick Wolf explained that “private-school-choice programs disproportionately attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” noting that the choice participants are “considerably more likely to be low-income, lower-achieving, and African American, and much less likely to be white, as compared to the average public-school student in their area.” By contrast, Douglas Harris claimed, “Even when limited to low-income populations, though, vouchers tend to serve a socioeconomically advantaged portion” of the eligible student population.” (more)

Secret Finding from PDK Poll: Support for Vouchers is Rising

Education Next – Paul E. Peterson

“The just released PDK survey of U. S. adults reveals an upward shift in public support for vouchers of 10 percentage points over the past four years, with 8 of those percentage points gained since 2015. Meanwhile, voucher opposition fell by 18 percentage points over this same four-year time period. Although this finding is not reported by PDK in this year’s analysis of its findings, it emerges sharp and clear if one takes a close look at earlier PDK poll results.”(more)