Vouchers do not improve student achievement, Stanford researcher finds

February 28, 2017

BY CARRIE SPECTOR

Proponents of “school choice” say that voucher programs – which allow parents to use state education funds to enroll their children in private schools – promote learning by providing access to different types of schools and by fostering competition that motivates public schools to improve.

But there’s no evidence that voucher programs significantly increase test scores, according to a new report by Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) Professor Martin Carnoy.

At best, they have only a modest impact on high school graduation rates, Carnoy found – and the risks they pose outweigh any advances.

“The evidence is very weak that vouchers produce significant gains in learning,” Carnoy said. “They also carry hidden costs, and they’re distracting us from other solutions that could yield much higher returns.”

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