Wolf, who has led this effort as well as the federally endorsed evaluation of the D.C. voucher program, summarized, “Voucher students are showing average rates of achievement gain similar to their public school peers.” Translation: when it comes to test scores, students with vouchers are performing no differently than other kids.
If I recall correctly, I many times heard the argument for vouchers to include the idea that a voucher system would improve the public schools which had to compete for students. That being the case, that the voucher students “are performing no differently than the other kids” would be the ideal, not a failure. And there is the “students are showing average rates of achievement gain…” Gain over what?
There is this from Hess: “black students in the public schools have the lowest reading scores of any cohort of black students in the country.” So that would seem to indicate that there has not been much improvement. But maybe only the most challenging black students remain in the public schools and the rest got into the voucher system.
I am too lazy to read the study itself so right now I am a bit confused over whether the voucher system failed or not.
Hat tip to Jonathan Chait at The New Republic.