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Research Raises Questions about Vouchers Improving Student Learning

Voucher proponents have long asserted that school voucher programs lead to learning gains for students. But school choice researchers see a new consensus emerging that says the opposite: vouchers have no effects or negative effects on student learning.

“In April, a large-scale study—conducted by voucher advocates—found substantial negative impacts for students using vouchers to attend private schools,” write education researchers Christopher Lubienski and Joel Malin in an article republished in the Miami Herald.

“Rigorous research on statewide programs in Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana, as well as Washington, D.C., shows large, negative impacts on academic achievement of students using vouchers compared to their peers who stayed in public schools,” the article reads.

Given the new evidence that vouchers harm student learning, voucher advocates have changed their argument to say that test scores aren’t as important as “attainment,” for example the rate at which voucher students enroll in college. “However, some of the most recent research finds that vouchers don’t really lead to better college enrollment, either,” the article adds.

Read “Do school vouchers lead to better education? New research raises questions,” by Christopher Lubienski and Joel Malin, Miami Herald.

August 8, 2019