Review of the Brookings study on vouchers by National Education Policy Center

14 Sep

Moi has posted quite a bit about vouchers. Moi discussed vouchers as one element of school choice in Given school choice, many students thrive:

The Center for Education Reform defines School Choice

The term “school choice” means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the school their child will attend. Traditionally, children are assigned to a public school according to where they live. People of means already have school choice, because they can afford to move to an area according to the schools available (i.e. where the quality of public schools is high), or they can choose to enroll their child in a private school. Parents without such means, until recently, generally had no choice of school, and had to send their child to the school assigned to them by the district, regardless of the school’s quality or appropriateness for their child.

School choice means better educational opportunity, because it uses the dynamics of consumer opportunity and provider competition to drive service quality. This principle is found anywhere you look, from cars to colleges and universities, but it’s largely absent in our public school system and the poor results are evident, especially in the centers of American culture – our cities. School choice programs foster parental involvement and high expectations by giving parents the option to educate their children as they see fit. It re-asserts the rights of the parent and the best interests of child over the convenience of the system, infuses accountability and quality into the system, and provides educational opportunity where none existed before.

Many school choice issues are also discussed in the school choice section.

School Choices has information about School Vouchers https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/university-of-arkansas-study-finds-milwaukee-voucher-students-go-to-college-at-higher-rate/

The Brookings Institute (Brookings) has released the report, The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City.  See also, Vouchers Help African American Students Go to College http://educationnext.org/vouchers-help-african-american-students-go-to-college/    and New Research on the Impact of Vouchers http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/314852/new-research-impact-vouchers-reihan-salam

https://drwilda.com/2012/08/23/given-school-choice-many-students-thrive/

Sara Goldrick-Rab has written Review of The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City:

Here is the press release for the review:

Brookings Study Does Not Support Claim that Vouchers Boosted College Enrollment

Contact

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net
Sara Goldrick-Rab, (608) 265-2141, srab@education.wisc.edu

URL for this press release:  http://tinyurl.com/8deema8
BOULDER, CO (September 13, 2012) – A recent Brookings Institution report that looked at college enrollment rates of students attending voucher schools in New York City acknowledged no overall impacts of the vouchers on college attendance, but its authors trumpeted large, positive impacts for a subgroup of the voucher students: African Americans.
A new review of the report, however, questions the claim of a strong positive impact even for that group.

The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City was written by Matthew Chingos and Paul Peterson and published jointly by Brookings and by the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard.

It was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by professor Sara Goldrick-Rab of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The review is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

The report examines college enrollment rates of students participating in an experimental voucher program in New York City, which in the spring of 1997 offered 3-year scholarships worth up to $1,400 annually to low-income families.

In her review of the Brookings report, Goldrick-Rab observes that the study identifies no overall impacts of the voucher offer, but that the authors “report and emphasize large positive impacts for African American students, including increases in college attendance, full-time enrollment, and attendance at private, selective institutions of higher education.”

This strong focus on positive impacts for a single subgroup of students is not warranted. Goldrick-Rab notes four problems:

  • There are no statistically significant differences in the estimated impact for African Americans as compared to other students;
  • There is important but unmentioned measurement error in the dependent variables (college attendance outcomes) affecting the precision of those estimates and likely moving at least some of them out of the realm of statistical significance;
  • The authors fail to demonstrate any estimated negative effects that could help explain the average null results; and
  • There are previously existing differences between the African American treatment and control groups on factors known to matter for college attendance (e.g., parental education).


“Contrary to the report’s claim, the evidence presented suggests that in this New York City program, school vouchers did not improve college enrollment rates among all students or even among a selected subgroup of students,” Goldrick-Rab writes.

Consequently, this new study’s contribution to discussions of education policy is the opposite of what its authors intend. Goldrick-Rab concludes that the report “convincingly demonstrates that in New York City a private voucher program failed to increase the college enrollment rates of students from low-income families.”

Find Sara Goldrick-Rab’s review on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-vouchers-college

The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City, by Matthew M. Chingos and Paul E. Peterson, is on the web at
http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/08/23-school-vouchers-harvard-chingos.

The Think Twice think tank review project (http://thinktankreview.org) of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) provides the public, policy makers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. The Think Twice think tank review project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This review is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/.

Citation:

Review of The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City

The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City

Matthew M. Chingos and Paul E. Peterson

Brookings Institute

August 23, 2012

Sara Goldrick-Rab (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

September 13, 2012

Press Release →

This Brookings report examines college enrollment rates of students participating in an experimental New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation Program, which in the spring of 1997 offered 3-year scholarships worth up to $1,400 annually to low-income families. The study identifies no overall impacts of the voucher offer, but the authors report and emphasize large positive impacts for African American students, including increases in college attendance, full-time enrollment, and attendance at private, selective institutions of higher education. This strong focus on positive impacts for a single subgroup of students is not warranted. There are no statistically significant differences in the estimated impact for African Americans as compared to other students; there is important but unmentioned measurement error in the dependent variables (college attendance outcomes) affecting the precision of those estimates and likely moving at least some of them out of the realm of statistical significance; the authors fail to demonstrate any estimated negative effects that could help explain the average null results; and there are previously existing differences between the African American treatment and control groups on factors known to matter for college attendance (e.g., parental education). Contrary to the report’s claim, the evidence presented suggests that in this New York City program, school vouchers did not improve college enrollment rates among all students or even among a selected subgroup of students.

Review Download

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important. Moi does not have the dread of a well-defined voucher program targeted at at-risk children. The tax credit program is entirely a horse of a different color and should be discouraged.

Related:

What is the Indiana voucher program?                                           https://drwilda.com/2012/08/26/what-is-the-indiana-voucher-program/

Are tax credits disguised vouchers?                                                         https://drwilda.com/2012/06/17/are-tax-credits-disguised-vouchers/

University of Arkansas study finds Milwaukee voucher students go to college at higher rate                                                                                                        https://drwilda.com/2012/03/05/university-of-arkansas-study-finds-milwaukee-voucher-students-go-to-college-at-higher-rate/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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