Effects of choice on student achievement—Milwaukee, Michigan and Arizona

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RESEARCHER: Caroline Hoxby, economist, Harvard University

WHAT WAS STUDIED: Hoxby examined how private school vouchers for low-income students in Milwaukee public schools impacted standardized test scores over three years beginning in 1996-97. She also examined the effect of charter schools on public elementary school students in Arizona and Michigan between 1992-93 and 1999-00.

WHAT SHE FOUND: On every statewide standardized test, scores grew the most in public elementary schools that faced the most voucher or charter competition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For a copy of “How School Choice Affects the Achievement of Public School Students,” go to Hoxby’s web site at http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/hoxby/papers.html.

Effects of choice on student achievement—Florida

RESEARCHERS: Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters at the Manhattan Institute

WHAT THEY STUDIED: Greene and Winters looked at the impact of a private school voucher program on low-achieving Florida elementary schools. Florida offers vouchers to students who attend schools deemed failing based on state exams. They compared standardized test score growth in schools where students were eligible for vouchers to those where they were not.

WHAT THEY FOUND: Schools where students were eligible for vouchers made larger test score gains between 2001-02 and 2002-03 in both math and reading than students at schools where vouchers weren’t offered.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Go to the Education Next web site at www.educationnext.org/20043/index.html to find “When Schools Compete: The Effects of Vouchers on Florida Public School Achievement.”

Effects of tuition vouchers in two states

RESEARCHER: Christopher Hammons, associate professor of political science, Houston Baptist University; commissioned by the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation

WHAT HE STUDIED: Hammons looked at how the number of school options affected standardized test scores of rural high school students in Vermont and Maine. In those states, towns without high schools offer vouchers to send students to neighboring public or private schools. The study plotted schools within a seven-mile radius of towns offering tuition vouchers, then compared test scores of schools exposed to competition and those not exposed to competition.

WHAT HE FOUND: Controlling for factors such as per-pupil spending and poverty levels, schools exposed to voucher competition had higher test scores than schools facing less competition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For a copy of “The Effects of Town Tuitioning in Maine and Vermont” go to

www.schoolreport.com/friedman_study.pdf.

Charter schools and racial segregation

RESEARCHERS: Erica Frankenberg and Chungmei Lee, Civil Rights Project, Harvard University

WHAT THEY STUDIED: Researchers compared racial diversity in charter schools to public schools in the 16 states (including Illinois) where charter school enrollment was greater than 5,000 in the 2000-01 school year.

WHAT THEY FOUND: Charter schools enroll disproportionately high percentages of minority students resulting in more segregation than in public schools in the same states. Specifically, 70 percent of all black charter school students attend “intensely segregated” schools, compared to 34 percent of black public school students.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Go the Civil Rights Project web site at www.civilrightsproject.harvard.edu/research.php, then type “charter schools and race” into the search engine to find the report “Charter Schools and Race: A Lost Opportunity for Integrated Education.”