(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
On this blog, I’ve previously complained about what I viewed as an inappropriately high bar as the focus on the evaluation in an Intention to Treat model. Some of you disagree, but my view is that the question that most people want to know is whether the kids who used a voucher have improved performance, or not. The second year evaluation found that the answer to this question was yes.
Because some kids won the voucher lottery but then didn’t find a spot in a private school, under the high bar evaluation they went into the experimental group. Other kids who lost a lottery but wound up going to private school anyway went into the control group.
So basically, the kids who actually did receive a voucher and used it had to make gains large enough to drag these other kids as a group over the level of statistical significance.
I’ll be damned if they didn’t do it in the third year of the program. Modest? You can’t possibly be serious.
Andy doesn’t think that evidence is going to sway anyone. Really? Why did the President say:
Why did Senator Durbin say “Allowing the program to continue through end of next school year (2009–2010) will give Congress a chance to examine all the evidence to determine whether or not this program works.”
Why did Senator Feinstein say “Why should the poor child not have the same access as the wealthy child does? That is all he is asking for. He is saying let’s try it for 5 years, and then let’s compare progress and let’s see if this model can work for these District youngsters.”
Senator Feinstein went on “I have gotten a lot of flak because I am supporting it. And guess what. I do not care. I have finally reached the stage in my career, I do not care. I am going to do what I sincerely believe is right. I have spent the time. I have gone to the schools, I have seen what works, I have seen what does not work. Believe it or not, I have always been sort of a political figure for the streets as opposed to the policy wonks. I know different things work on the streets that often do not work on the bookshelves. So we will see.”
Indeed we will, and now we have seen. Senator Feinstein should be applauded for her courage. It’s too bad she didn’t get to see this report before Congress voted to require reauthorization.
Perhaps Andy thinks that evidence won’t change minds because of this letter sent by the NEA demanding that Congress kill the DC program. Perhaps Feinstein’s courage really is in short supply.
There are 1,700 kids that just surmounted a very high bar that really hope that this is not the case.