Stuck In The Middle: Empowering Parents With Educational Choice
Stuck. That seems to be the theme of education in Missouri (see here and here). We are stuck in the middle in terms of academic achievement and most families are stuck in their local public schools. To get Missouri moving in the right direction, we must start by freeing families to choose their child’s school.
Bold Solution No. 2:
Provide parents with options so they can choose the school and type of education that best meets their family’s needs.
A growing body of research suggests school choice has many potential benefits for students.
For example, the Institute for Education Science’s study of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program in Washington, D.C., noted that students who attended a private school with a voucher were significantly more likely to graduate from high school.
A study released in August showed that “using a voucher to attend a private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24%.”
Another study released last month tested the impact of school choice on intrinsic motivation and academic outcomes. The researchers found that winning a lottery for a choice school significantly lowered truancy rates even before the students actually enter the choice school. From the study: “The effects are largest for male students entering high school, whose truancy rates decline by 21% as a result of winning the lottery.” The study also found “substantial test score gains from attending a charter school.”
Each of the studies used a lottery to determine if the student would earn a voucher or be able to attend a charter school. In the real world, winning the lottery leads to making you work less, but in school choice, it appears to (thankfully) have the opposite effect for inner city schoolchildren.
By empowering parents to choose their child’s school, Missouri could dramatically improve educational options for all students. Better yet, no child would be stuck in a school without options.
(Here is a link to Bold Solution No. 1.)