School Choice Almost Always Positively Affects Academic Outcomes
The school choice movement has an excellent track record for improving students’ academic outcomes and increasing parental satisfaction, but the same cannot be said for the public school system and the federal government’s Common Core. The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey M. Burke expounds upon the findings of myriad studies demonstrating the positive effects of school choice on students’ academic outcomes both in voucher programs and in public schools.
From better meeting the needs of special needs students, to increased parental satisfaction, to substantial increases in graduation rates, the research shows school choice is an effective means of improving American education. Washington politicians should take note.
Students who have participated in the D.C Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to students from low-income families living in Washington, have experienced “statistically significant increases in graduation rates as a result of using a scholarship to attend a private school of choice.”
Critics of school choice, often politically motivated by affiliation with teachers’ unions, insinuate that the very existence of the school choice movement somehow harms those students who remain in the public school system.
That’s just not so. In fact, the very “threat of competition” and “competitive pressure from the school choice voucher program” are incentives for public schools to work to ensure the success of their students.
In Florida, researchers have also found “statistically significant increases in the test scores of students with disabilities who remained in the public system as more private schools entered” the McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities, which provides vouchers to students with special needs to attend a private school of choice.
Burke explains “states and local school districts would better serve students by empowering parents with control over their share of education funding.” Fortunately, there are some lawmakers paying attention to this advice and acting on it.
The Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education (CHOICE) Act (S. 1909), sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) 79%, is currently being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. This bill would expand educational opportunities for children with disabilities, children living on military bases, and children living in impoverished areas.
The federal government’s overreach in education is a demonstrable failure, despite the billions of federal tax dollars spent on the public school system annually. School choice and competition have proven to be far more effective means of allowing students to succeed.