08 February 2010

Education: More Evidence Vouchers Work

A report released last week by School Choice Wisconsin, an advocacy group, finds that between 2003 and 2008 students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program had a significantly higher graduation rate than students in Milwaukee Public Schools.

"Had MPS graduation rates equalled those for MPCP students in the classes of 2003 through 2008, the number of MPS graduates would have been about 18 percent higher," writes John Robert Warren of the University of Minnesota. "That higher rate would have resulted in 3,352 more MPS graduates during the 2003-2008 years."

In 2008 the graduation rate for voucher students was 77% versus 65% for the nonvoucher students, though the latter receives $14,000 per pupil in taxpayer support, or more than double the $6,400 per pupil that voucher students receive in public funding.

The Milwaukee voucher program serves more than 21,000 children in 111 private schools, so nearly 20% more graduates mean a lot fewer kids destined for failure without the credential of a high school diploma. The finding is all the more significant because students who receive vouchers must, by law, come from low-income families, while their counterparts in public schools come from a broader range of economic backgrounds.
Expansion of vouchers and broader choice in education could literally transform this country. Students in areas with failing schools would no longer be locked into a losing future. The dynamism brought on by increased choice would bring higher graduation rates to those our current system consistently fails.

Central planners, teachers' unions, and their Democratic enablers will continue to clamor for more money for failed programs or tweaked versions of ones that have failed in the past. Vouchers and choice and increased competition in education (as in everything) would bring higher quality and lower prices and this means more children would be better educated.

Those opposed to choice in education should be ashamed.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.