(Guest post by Greg Forster)
The Friedman Foundation has just released my new study showing that Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program had a positive impact on academic outcomes in public schools. I’m told that it has generated a number of news hits, though the only reporter to interview me so far was the author of this piece in the Columbus Dispatch. When she interviewed me I thought she was hostile, because her questions put me a little off balance, but the article is perfectly fair. I guess if the reporter is doing her job right, the interviewees ought to feel like they were being challenged. The final product is what counts.
The positive results that I found from the EdChoice program were substantial but not revolutionary. That’s not surprising, given that 1) failing-schools vouchers aren’t the optimum way to structure voucher programs in the first place, and 2) the data were from the program’s first year, when it was smaller and more restricted than it is now.
It’s too early to be sure, but among the large body of empirical studies consistently showing that vouchers improve public schools, a pattern seems to be emerging that voucher programs have a bigger impact on public schools when they’re larger, more universal, and have fewer obstacles to parental participation. That’s worth watching and studying further as opportunities arise.