Lubienski and Malin: School Vouchers Actually Harm Children

Diane Ravitch's blog

Researchers Christopher Lubienski and Joel Malin note that a growing number of states have adopted voucher plans on the assumption that vouchers will “help poor kids escape failing public schools,” but the reality is that a substantial body of evidence finds that vouchers actually harm student academic performance.

After two decades of choice advocates arguing that school vouchers in particular improve academic achievement for poor children, Trump elevated Betsy DeVos, one of the leading voucher proponents, as his secretary of Education. State policymakers have also massively scaled-up school vouchers and voucher-like programs such as education savings account programs across the country. However, over the last four years, researchers have consistently found insignificant or, more often, substantially negative impacts on learning for the children whose parents have enrolled them in these programs. Such negative impacts are largely unprecedented in evaluations of educational interventions, raising questions about the ethics of experimenting on…

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