My colleague Pat Wolf released today a new study of the DC voucher program based on focus group interviews of families. It found high levels of parental satisfaction with the program, even among families that returned to the public system. People appreciated having the choices and felt more involved in their children’s education.
Of course, these satisfaction outcomes don’t usually move the debate very much. Opponents of voucher programs tend not to be persuaded by parental reports of satisfaction because they doubt the judgment of parents. That’s why they are skeptical about choice. And supporters of vouchers view satisfaction outcomes as important, but they are already inclined to trust parental assessments.
But the report provides plenty of contextual information that is useful and interesting even if it is not decisive. A new test score analysis of the DC voucher program is expected sometime this Spring.