The Trump presidency seems to want to base its education program on school choice. But vouchers have a history of failure. The two most recent studies indicate that students do worse with vouchers.
- The Louisiana Scholarship Program provided tuition to poor students in low-performing public schools. An MIT paper by Atila Abdulkadiroglu of Duke University, Parag Pathak of MIT, and Christopher Walters of Berkeley found vouchers didn’t work. Students chosen by a lottery wound up with worse test scores in math, reading, science and social studies than those students in public schools. Children who lost the lottery turned out to be the luckier students!
- This past May a research paper looking at 25 years of vouchers in Milwaukee also found failure involving vouchers. In “Determinants of Organizational Failure in the Milwaukee School Voucher Program” researchers looked at 25 years of data. They examined organizational liabilities of newness, institutional affiliation, market-share, and regulatory environment on the cumulative risk of school failure and determined that 41 percent of all private voucher schools operating in Milwaukee between 1991 and 2015 failed. They concluded that policymakers should reconsider vouchers.
With such problems with vouchers, why is the new President-elect pushing vouchers? Is he that out of touch?