A review of existing research on private-school-voucher programs concludes that the additional achievement gains of voucher recipients tend to be small, and that many of those gains are not statistically significant.
In addition, the “occasional paper” posted online by the National Center on the Study of Privatization in Education, based at Teachers College, Columbia University, finds that while achievement in traditional public schools appears to improve as a result of the competitive pressure from vouchers, the gains are small and difficult to compare, because of the wide variation in research methodologies used.
The paper, by researchers Cecilia Elena Rose of Princeton University and Lisa Barrow of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, says the most credible evidence on vouchers comes from studies focused on “short-run academic gains” for students.
The study is to be published next year in the Annual Review of Economics.
A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 2008 edition of Education Week