Fools: How Should We Feel About Them?

THE A-TEAM -- Pictured: Mr. T as Sgt. Bosco "B.A." Baracus -- Photo by: Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Some fool at an edu-blog in Oklahoma took a swing at criticizing my Win-Win report, summarizing the research on school choice. How did it go for them? Here’s a choice portion of my reply, now posted in full at Choice Remarks:

The most damning charge in their post is that I “cherry pick” the evidence, leaving out studies I don’t like. That would indeed be grievous, if it were true. They back up this charge by saying that I did not include in my review the official study of the D.C. voucher program, headed by Pat Wolf.

The accusation is clear, emphatic, and misspelled: “Patrick Wolfe’s official (and dismal) report (Wolfe et al 2010) on the program in Washington D.C. is not cited, a serious omission.”

Unfortunately, the charge is also false. I cite Wolf’s 2010 report on pages 8, 29, and 31. Oops!

OERC claims Wolf’s report (excuse me, “Wolfe’s” report) is “dismal” for the voucher program, crowing that “Wolfe” found negatively for the program even though he supports vouchers. But while Wolf found no change in test scores, he also found the following:

The Program significantly improved students’ chances of graduating from high school, according to parent reports. Overall, 82 percent of students offered scholarships received a high school diploma, compared to 70 percent of those who applied but were not offered scholarships. This graduation rate improvement also held for the subgroup of OSP students who came from “schools in need of improvement.”

So the study they characterize as “dismal” actually found that the program dramatically reduces high school dropout rates without any corresponding reduction in standards of academic achievement.

Oops again!

Fun fact: Greene’s Law of Conservation of Es states that every time someone adds an E to the end of Pat’s name, somewhere, somehow, someone drops the E from the end of Jay’s name.

Can any of y’all help me? I’m trying to figure out what emotional response is appropriate to this level of foolishness…

4 Responses to Fools: How Should We Feel About Them?

  1. George Mitchell says:


    The OERC critique says, “The Friedman foundation study in 2007, for instance, spoke glowingly of school achievement in Milwaukee voucher schools. However the publication of the most recent data, since all voucher schools were required to give the same tests as the public schools, shows that the public schools are out performing the voucher schools.”

    However, the March 17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the following, “Third- through eighth-grade students in Milwaukee’s private voucher and independent charter schools outperformed their public school counterparts in math and language arts, according to statewide assessment data released Wednesday by the Department of Public Instruction.”

    And, as for the OERC claim about “recent data,” that appears to refer to a bogus comparison of all students in the Milwaukee Public Schools with students from low/moderate-income families in the choice program.


  2. Mike G says:

    I lov the conseervation of e’s!

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