Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Vouchers improve student achievement and graduation rates
A new report just released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that students receiving vouchers in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program saw graduation rates that were 12 points higher than students who applied but did not receive a voucher. Better yet, students who won a voucher and then used it to attend a private school saw graduation rates that were 21 points higher than the control group.
The treatment group (students who won a voucher) saw a graduation rate of 82 percent.
The control group (which did not win a voucher, but of which 47 percent attended a charter school or private school anyway) saw a graduation rate of 70 percent — much higher than the District's official graduation rate.
The D.C district's graduation rate, according to NCES, is 56 percent.
The graduation rate for students winning and then using the voucher to attend a private school was 91 percent.
This all means that the effects of vouchers in D.C. are substantially understated by the report because nearly half of the control group exercised school choice. Unfortunately, journalists are unlikely to uncover these nuances and will instead report that vouchers don't work, despite the considerable scientific evidence that finds vouchers improve student achievement.