Dismal Results From Vouchers Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins

Discussion in 'Education' started by bobnelsonfr, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    Original article by Kevin Carey, The Upshot (NYT)
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    [​IMG]Betsy DeVos, the education secretary in the Trump administration, has been a longtime supporter of school vouchers.CreditShawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency

    The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education was a signal moment for the school choice movement. For the first time, the nation’s highest education official is someone fully committed to making school vouchers and other market-oriented policies the centerpiece of education reform.

    But even as school choice is poised to go national, a wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling — the worst in the history of the field, researchers say.

    While many policy ideas have murky origins, vouchers emerged fully formed from a single, brilliant essay published in 1955 by Milton Friedman, the free-market godfather later to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Because “a stable and democratic society is impossible without widespread acceptance of some common set of values and without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens,” Mr. Friedman wrote, the government should pay for all children to go to school.
    But, he argued, that doesn’t mean the government should run all the schools. Instead, it could give parents vouchers to pay for “approved educational services” provided by private schools, with the government’s role limited to “ensuring that the schools met certain minimum standards.”

    The voucher idea sat dormant for years before taking root in a few places, most notably Milwaukee. Yet even as many of Mr. Friedman’s other ideas became Republican Party orthodoxy, most national G.O.P. leaders committed themselves to a different theory of educational improvement: standards, testing and accountability. That movement reached an apex when the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 brought a new focus on tests and standards to nearly every public school nationwide. The law left voucher supporters with crumbs: a small demonstration project in Washington, D.C.

    But broad political support for No Child Left Behind proved short-lived. Teachers unions opposed the reforms from the left, while libertarians and states-rights conservatives denounced it from the right. When Republicans took control of more governor’s mansions and state legislatures in the 2000s, they expanded vouchers to an unprecedented degree. Three of the largest programs sprang up in Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio, which collectively enroll more than a third of the 178,000 voucher students nationwide.

    Most of the new programs heeded Mr. Friedman’s original call for the government to enforce “minimum standards” by requiring private schools that accept vouchers to administer standardized state tests. Researchers have used this data to compare voucher students with similar children who took the same tests in public school. Many of the results were released over the last 18 months, while Donald J. Trump was advocating school choice on the campaign trail.

    The first results came in late 2015. Researchers examined an Indiana voucher program that had quickly grown to serve tens of thousands of students under Mike Pence, then the state’s governor. “In mathematics,” they found, “voucher students who transfer to private schools experienced significant losses in achievement.” They also saw no improvement in reading.

    The next results came a few months later, in February, when researchers published a major study of Louisiana’s voucher program. Students in the program were predominantly black and from low-income families, and they came from public schools that had received poor ratings from the state department of education, based on test scores. For private schools receiving more applicants than they could enroll, the law required that they admit students via lottery, which allowed the researchers to compare lottery winners with those who stayed in public school.

    They found large negative results in both reading and math. Public elementary school students who started at the 50th percentile in math and then used a voucher to transfer to a private school dropped to the 26th percentile in a single year. Results were somewhat better in the second year, but were still well below the starting point.

    This is very unusual. When people try to improve education, sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail. The successes usually register as modest improvements, while the failures generally have no effect at all. It’s rare to see efforts to improve test scores having the opposite result. Martin West, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, calls the negative effects in Louisiana “as large as any I’ve seen in the literature” — not just compared with other voucher studies, but in the history of American education research.

    There’s always the chance that a single study, no matter how well designed, is an outlier. Studies of older voucher programs in Milwaukee and elsewhere have generally produced mixed results, sometimes finding modest improvements in test scores, but only for some subjects and student groups. Until about a year ago, however, few if any studies had shown vouchers causing test scores to decline drastically.

    In June, a third voucher study was released by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank and proponent of school choice. The study, which was financed by the pro-voucher Walton Family Foundation, focused on a large voucher program in Ohio. “Students who use vouchers to attend private schools have fared worse academically compared to their closely matched peers attending public schools,” the researchers found. Once again, results were worse in math.

    Three consecutive reports, each studying one of the largest new state voucher programs, found that vouchers hurt student learning. Researchers and advocates began a spirited debate about what, exactly, was going on.

    Mark Dynarski of the Brookings Institution noted that the performance gap between private and public school students had narrowed significantly over time. He argued that the standards, testing and accountability movement, for all its political shortcomings, was effective. The assumed superiority of private schools may no longer hold.

    Some voucher supporters observed that many private schools in Louisiana chose not to accept voucher students, and those that did had recently experienced declining enrollment. Perhaps the participating schools were unusually bad and eager for revenue. But this is another way of saying that exposing young children to the vagaries of private-sector competition is inherently risky. The free market often does a terrible job of providing basic services to the poor — see, for instance, the lack of grocery stores and banks in many low-income neighborhoods. This may also hold for education.

    Others have argued that standardized test scores are the wrong measure of school success. It’s true that voucher programs in Washington and some others elsewhere, which produced no improvements in test scores, increased the likelihood of students’ advancement and graduation from high school. One study of a privately financed voucher program in New York found positive results for college attendance among African-Americans.

    But research has also linked higher test scores to a host of positive outcomes later in life. And voucher advocates often cite poor test scores in public schools to justify creating private school vouchers in the first place.

    The new voucher studies stand in marked contrast to research findings that well-regulated charter schools in Massachusetts and elsewhere have a strong, positive impact on test scores. But while vouchers and charters are often grouped under the umbrella of “school choice,” the best charters tend to be nonprofit public schools, open to all and accountable to public authorities. The less “private” that school choice programs are, the better they seem to work.

    The new evidence on vouchers does not seem to have deterred the Trump administration, which has proposed a new $20 billion voucher program. Secretary DeVos’s enthusiasm for vouchers, which have been the primary focus of her philanthropic spending and advocacy, appears to be undiminished.

    -------------------------------------

    Kevin Carey directs the education policy program at New America. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevincarey1.
     
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  2. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    America has the worst health care in the developed world: by far the highest cost, and a low life-expectancy. America confides its health care to organisms whose primary purpose is NOT to provide health care, but to enrich shareholders -- every dollar spent on health care is a dollar that does not go to shareholders.

    Having demonstrated that it is a very bad idea to give their health care money to companies whose purpose is enriching shareholders rather than caring for their health... Americans are now hurrying to give their education money to companies whose purpose is to enrich shareholders rather than to educate students.

    What could possibly go wrong?
     
  3. Sampson Simpon

    Sampson Simpon Active Member

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    People in this country have to wake up. Use their brains, stop being manipulated by propaganda. This country is run by the corporations, the billionaires, the rich, and mostly everything the government does is to make it easier for them to make money. Dems are guilty at this, but republicans don't even hide it, and lets face it, they have had many more years in power than dems and this country is run by mostly their policies.

    People are making so much money off of our suffering. We are one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world, we should have a much better quality of life, we should have universal healthcare, we should have top notch schools, we shouldn't have as much poverty as we do, we should not be leading the industrialized world in rate of imprisoned people for a country who's national anthem boasts "land of the free"

    All this is so the rich can make more money. They are making a killing off of healthcare, the high costs, denying claims. Healthcare should not be something people profit off of while people die and suffer or go bankrupt just to live. People who have jobs should not be living in poverty. THe tax burden on the poor and middle class should not be as high as it is when its the rich benefiting most from all the fruits of the government and they have more money than they know what to do with in multiple lifetimes. The CEOs of companies should not be making 500X more their average worker salaries, when it is the workers that are making the company succeed.

    one thing I hope comes out of Trump presidency is this wakes people up. Maybe the Trump supporters are just to far gone to ever come back (if they didn't see this during campaign, they pretty much are), but people need to get out and vote. Don't let this happen. If more % of the population voted, we would never get people liek the extreme right catering jerk Republicans we are currently seeing that do nothing but help the rich rape and pillage our country
     
  4. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    I agree with everything you said, particularly this. Sadly, Trump's people have shown a capacity for self-delusion that makes me very pessimistic...
     
  5. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    Really? You think voting is the answer? Who were you going to vote for last November? Was it Hilary, the person designated to win the DNC rigged primaries, the person who colluded with the media to hide negative information and make up positive information, the person who abused for personal gain her position as Sec of State?

    Or did you fall for the Bernie Burn? Did the old man who has spent his life in politics and is as bought as any pol, the man who agreed to play the patsy straight man to Hilary so she would have someone to prime her for the election debates, the man who immediately after losing the primary dropped all his "campaign promises" to support the DNC candidate, did that old guy fool you into voting for him?
     
  6. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    Do you have anything to say about the OP?
     
  7. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    You mean your article from a "newspaper" that was exposed as a propaganda arm of the "progressives" and now openly advocates a "progressive" political position? I say stop wasting your time reading the NYT.
     
  8. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    So... nothing substantive. No surprise, there.
     
  9. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    Wrong.

    Very substantive. Its fact that the NYT colluded with the DNC to try to get Hilary elected, that the NYT hates Trump and actively works to remove Trump from office. The NYT is openly a propaganda outlet for the "progressives" and will oppose everything Trump tries to do. Everything the NYT does has a political agenda.

    That's why the NYT is worthless and nothing they do is trustworthy.

    Your OP is based on a totally untrustworthy source.

    So stop wasting your time on the NYT.
     
  10. dadoalex

    dadoalex Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    The topic of the OP is three studies concerned education vouchers, and the poor performance of the schools that are financed through them. Do you have anything substantive to say on the topic of the OP?

    Did you bother to read it? Or did you just copy / paste a standard screed that you post whenever you see an article from the NYT?
     
  12. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    Why would any rational person who was interested in facts waste time reading an article from a proven untrustworthy entity? The only people who read such articles are people interested in promoting falsehoods for political gain.
     
  13. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    So... you did not bother to read the OP. That doesn't prevent you from posting.

    Do you realize how ridiculous that makes you?
     
  14. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    I saw the title in the forum, I was interested in the subject, I went to the OP post #1, and read until I saw it was not a substantive OP but propaganda from a completely discredited source (NYT). To go further is a waste of time.

    You are under the misconception that all posts are worthwhile and deserve equal consideration. Wrong. You post BS, then expect rational intelligent people to treat it as BS.
     
  15. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    Nothing substantive. Not surprising.
     
  16. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    Start a real OP, something of substance, and you will get a discussion. Learn your lesson.
     
  17. bobnelsonfr

    bobnelsonfr Member

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    Why post, when you have nothing to say? Are you just trolling?

    Have you no ideas about education? Nothing at all?
     
  18. LiveUninhibited

    LiveUninhibited Well-Known Member

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    They opposed Trump? Maybe they care about truth, sanity, and freedom.

    As to unreliable sources, you wouldn't disagree with Hitler if he said that 2 + 2 = 4 just because Hitler said it, so I assume you must be able to say the studies don't exist, the studies were flawed, or some other thing that invalidates the argument.
     
  19. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    Most private schools are non-profit, and have no shareholders.
     
  20. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    SUre, the New York Times cares so much about the truth they will lie in order to advance their agenda.

    The NYT is a hoax, its propaganda, they don't even try to hide it anymore. People that believe the NYT are the "useful idiots" of the "progressives".
     
  21. LiveUninhibited

    LiveUninhibited Well-Known Member

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    That is just restating what you previously alleged. It does not address their argument or their sources.
     
  22. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    If I told you that Hitler wrote a paper on the value of Jews, would you address his argument or just throw the paper in the trash because the source is so discredited?

    The same for the NYT.

    As some others in this forum think, you seem to think that all posts and sources are of equal value. Wrong. Some like the NYT are so discredited that they are not worth reading.
     
  23. LiveUninhibited

    LiveUninhibited Well-Known Member

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    If Hitler wrote such a paper I would certainly be wary of falsehoods and check his sources. If I were to debate somebody on the merits of said paper, it would be a discussion about the points in the paper, not the merits of the author or lack thereof.

    Posts and sources are not true based upon their source ever. That is an appeal to authority. For sources you distrust, you don't dismiss them, you just triple check them. Well, that's what one would do if they operated on logic and not partisan hackery.
     
  24. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    LOL, total BS.

    Unless you were doing it for academic interest, or a study of Hitler, you would not read a paper written by Hitler on the value of Jews. Without reading the paper you already know what his position with respect to Jews is, you know his position is wrong and wildly biased.

    And by stating you would "check his sources" and "you don't dismiss them", then you allow that Hitler's position regarding Jews has merit, that there may be some source he could use that would convince you that the extermination of Jews is a valid political goal. Do you really believe that the extermination of all Jews can be a valid goal?

    The same can be said of slavery. For 1,000's of years, slavery was an accepted state of humanity, and people right up to today make rational arguments approving of slavery. Is slavery wrong, or would you read pro-slavery "sources" because you believe there is a perspective which would convince you that slavery is just and moral and should be imposed upon certain people?

    Not all sources are equal. Not all opinions are worthy of equal consideration. Some people are simply wrong and do not deserve attention.
     
  25. LiveUninhibited

    LiveUninhibited Well-Known Member

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    I do not support slavery nor the extermination of jews, but nevertheless I insist the only logical approach is to examine evidence on its own merits rather than the source. Your approach is just as bad as liberals who dismiss anything Trump says just because Trump said it. Given his history of lying, I would double check his sources more carefully than I would an esteemed scientist, but it would be wrong of me to assume an argument is false just because Trump made it.

    I would grant that there is only so much time and we don't want to spend it all doublecheckung liars like Trump, but since you joined the thread, I can only assume you were interested in debating the merits of the argument put forth. Otherwise you should probably not bother to take a position.
     

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