School choice programs can help close the achievement gap in the United States between Latinos and all students, argues a paper from the Lexington Institute released this month.
To make that case, the report describes the impact on student achievement of on-line schooling in Florida, Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (a voucher program), and special needs scholarships, which are available in Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, and Utah.
The report doesn’t talk a lot about the education of English-language learners. The Lexington Institute is a conservative think tank and favors English immersion over bilingual education methods for teaching ELLs. The report features a Roman Catholic school that participates in Milwaukee’s voucher program that uses an English-immersion approach. After the 8th grade and students have mastered English, they are required to take three years of Spanish at that school.
The gist of the report’s message is summed up in the following excerpt:
“Unfortunately, most of the nation’s largest Latino constituency and advocacy groups continue to use their considerable political clout in support of liberal political agendas seeking to bolster the public education monopoly and teacher union control of government education spending. As this report details, the advantages of a system that provides real parental choice may represent the best change to close the Latino learning gap in the United States.”
And in case some Latinos may not be able to understand that message in English, the report has been translated into Spanish as well.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.