by Max Brantley
The examination of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only federally funded voucher program in the country, by the department’s Institute of Education Sciences, found that students who attended a private school through the program performed worse on standardized tests than their public school counterparts who did not use the vouchers.Even while getting it right the New York Times falls into the anti-public school lingo trap. "Inferior public schools" frequently are not "inferior" at all. But their students — disproportionately at risk on account of poverty, family problems, language struggles, disabilities — are "inferior" based on standardized test scores on which better situated students excel. Those "inferior" schools are sometimes achieving remarkable results given where there students start. See Little Rock, which the "choice" crowd persistently branded a failure in part thanks to a big dose of demographic destiny (70 percent in poverty, huge numbers of non-English speakers and special ed students). The Waltonites are talking nice about the Little Rock district now that they've ousted the majority black school board and their pal, Education Commissioner Johnny Key, is in charge and unanswerable to the taxpayers he's currently asking for almost a billion in new tax authorization over the next 30 years.
Among students who attended poor-performing public schools — the targets of this and other voucher programs — there was no significant effect on achievement.
...The report adds to mounting evidence that voucher programs across the country, which are often seen as an alternative to inferior public schools, are producing mixed academic results. Recent examinations of programs in Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin have drawn similar conclusions.