Educational Vouchers: A Review of the Research

 

by
Alex Molnar

 

Center for Education Research, Analysis, and Innovation
School of Education
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 413
Milwaukee WI 53201
414-229-2716

 

October, 1999

 

 

CERAI-99-21

 

Educational Vouchers: A Review of the Research 
October 1999
CERAI-99-21

Alex Molnar
Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 

This document combines excerpts from two reports: "Smaller Classes -- Not Vouchers -- Increase Student Achievement" (Harrisburg, Pa.: Keystone Research Center, March 1998); and "Smaller Classes and Educational Vouchers: A Research Update" (Harrisburg, Pa.: Keystone Research Center, June 1999). Both documents are available on the website of the Center for Education Research, Analysis, and Innovation at http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/CERAI

 

Table of Contents - Exercept 1
Historical Background
Educational Choice Enters the Mainstream
The Battle Over Vouchers Today
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Voucher Program
The Debate Over the Achievement Effect of the Milwaukee Voucher Program
Box 3: Public vs. Private Schools
Why Different Researchers Reach Different Conclusions
The Witte Evaluations
Box 4: Sorting through the Conflicting Voucher Results
The Greene, Peterson, and Du Evaluation
Box 5: When are Significant Results Not So Significant?
The Rouse Evaluation
Milwaukee’s Private Voucher Program -- PAVE
Box 6 - A Case Example of the Relative Cost and Performance of Public and Private Schools

The Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program (CSTP)
Vouchers, Values, and Educational Equity
Box 7: Does Money Matter? School Spending and School Outcomes
References

 

Table of Contents - Exercept 2
The Argument Over Vouchers
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Voucher Program
The Achievement Effects of the Milwaukee Voucher Program

The Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program (CSTP)
Official Evaluation Results for CSTP
Private Voucher Programs
Private School Vouchers (Con't)
Vouchers and Educational Equity
References

REFERENCES

1 Alex Molnar, Smaller Classes - Not Vouchers - Increase Student Achievement (Harrisburg: Keystone Research Center, 1998).

2 Sandia National Laboratories, "Perspectives on Education in America: An Annotated Briefing," Journal of Educational Research 86(5) (1993): 259-310.

3 David W. Grissmer, Sheila Nataraj Kirby, Mark Berends, and Stephanie Williamson, Student Achievement and the Changing American Family (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1994).

4 Alan B. Krueger, "Reassessing the View that American Schools Are Broken," Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review, March 1998, pp. 29-41.

5 Krueger, "Reassessing the View," p. 31.

6 Krueger, "Reassessing the View," p. 31 and Chart 2.

7 Richard Rothstein with Karen Hawley Mills, Where’s the Money Gone? Changes in the Level of Education Spending (Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute, 1995), pp. 1, 37. For an update for the 1991-96 period that shows a stagnation in spending on regular education and continued increases in special education spending, see Richard Rothstein, Where’s the Money Going? Changes in the Level and Composition of Education Spending, 1991-96 (Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute, 1997).

8 John E. Chubb and Terry Moe, Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1990).

9 Chubb and Moe’s work has drawn strong support and considerable criticism. In a 1995 book, Kevin J. Smith and Kenneth J. Meier analyzed Chubb and Moe’s theoretical claims, methods, results, and conclusions. In addition, they reviewed data about the performance of school choice programs in other countries. Smith and Meier concluded that the available evidence did not support Chubb and Moe’s case for vouchers. See Kevin B. Smith and Kenneth J. Meier, The Case Against School Choice: Politics, Markets, and Fools (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995).

10 For a brief summary of the public-versus-private schools literature and citations to research on both sides of the controversy, see Molnar, Smaller Classes.

11 Molnar, Smaller Classes, especially pp. 10-21, 35.

12 John Witte, "The Milwaukee Voucher Experiment," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 20(4) (Winter 1998): 229-251.

13 Cecilia Elena Rouse, "Schools and Student Achievement: More Evidence from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," FRBNY Economic Policy Review, March 1998, p. 70.

14 The description of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program is based on documents provided by the Ohio Department of Education; discussions with Francis Rogers of the Ohio Department of Education and Bert Holt of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program; and Dan Murphy, F. Howard Nelson, and Bella Rosenberg, The Cleveland Voucher Program: Who Chooses? Who Gets Chosen? Who Pays? (Washington, D.C.: American Federation of Teachers, 1997).

15 Paul E. Peterson, Jay P. Greene, and William Howell, "New Findings from the Cleveland Scholarship Program: A Reanalysis of Data from the Indiana University School of Education Evaluation" (http://data.fas.harvard.edu/pepg/newcl.htm).

16 Kim K. Metcalf et al., A Comparative Evaluation of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Grant Program: Year One: 1996-97 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Center for Evaluation, Indiana University, 1998). Kim K. Metcalf et al., Evaluation of the Cleveland Scholarship Program: Second-Year Report (1997-98) (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Center for Evaluation, Indiana University, 1998).

17 Peterson, Greene, and Howell, "New Findings," p. 4.

18 David N. Figlio and Joe A. Stone, "School Choice and Student Performance: Are Private Schools Really Better?" Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Paper 1141-97, University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 1997, p. 15.

19 Maureen Wahl, First-year Report of the Partners Advancing Values in Education Scholarship Program (Milwaukee: Family Service America, 1993); Maureen Wahl, Second-year Report of the Partners Advancing Values in Education Scholarship Program (Milwaukee: Family Service America, 1994); Maureen Wahl, Third-year Report of the Partners Advancing Values in Education Scholarship Program (Milwaukee: Family Service America, 1995); Sammis B. White, Peter Maier, and Christine Cramer, Fourth-year Report of the Partners Advancing Values in Education Scholarship Program (Milwaukee: Urban Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1996).

20 David J. Weinschrott and Sally B. Kilgore, "Educational Choice Charitable Trust: An Experiment in School Choice," Hudson Institute Briefing Paper Number 189, March 1996.

21 Paul E. Peterson, David Myers, Josh Haimson, and William G. Howell, Initial Findings from the Evaluation of the New York School Choice Scholarships Program, Mathematica Policy Research and Harvard University Program on Education Policy and Governance, November 1997.

22 Paul E. Peterson, David Myers, and William G. Howell, An Evaluation of the New York School Choice Scholarships Program: The First Year, Mathematica Policy Research and Harvard University Program on Education Policy and Governance, November 1998.

23 This statistical method, a "one-tailed test," is described in Molnar, Smaller Classes, p. 19.

24 Jay P. Greene, Paul E. Peterson, and Jiangtao Du with Jeesa Boeger and Curtis L. Frazier, "The Effectiveness of School Choice in Milwaukee: A Secondary Analysis of Data from the Program’s Evaluation," Occasional Paper, Program on Education Policy and Governance, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, August 14, 1996.

25 Peterson, Myers, and Howell, An Evaluation of the New York School Choice Scholarships Program, p. 32.

26 C.M. Achilles, letter to the editor, Education Week, January 12, 1999.

27 See Paul E. Peterson, Jay P. Greene, William G. Howell, "Initial Findings from an Evaluation of School Choice Programs in Washington, D.C.," paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, September 1998; Paul E. Peterson, Jay P. Greene, William G. Howell, and William McCready, paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Public Policy and Management, New York, October 1998.

28 R. Kenneth Godwin, Frank R. Kemerer, and Valerie J. Martinez, "Comparing Public Choice and Private Voucher Programs in San Antonio," in Learning from School Choice, ed. Paul E. Peterson and Bryan C. Hassel (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998), pp. 275-306.

29 CEO America Foundation, A Report on the First Semester of the HORIZON Voucher Program, San Antonio, January 1999.

30 Stephen A. Herzenberg and Howard Wial, The State of Working Pennsylvania 1998 (Harrisburg: Keystone Research Center, 1998), p. 26.

31 Henry M. Levin, "Educational Vouchers: Effectiveness, Choice, and Costs," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 17(3) (1998): 373-392.

32 Casey D. Cobb and Gene V. Glass, "Ethnic Segregation in Arizona Charter Schools," Education Policy Analysis Archives 7(1) (January 14, 1999).

33 Godwin, Kemerer, and Martinez, "Comparing Public Choice and Private Voucher Programs," pp. 278-279.

34 Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching, School Choice: A Special Report (Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1992).

35 Bruce Fuller, Who Gains, Who Loses from School Choice: A Research Summary, policy brief, National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver, 1995.

36 Geoff Whitty, "Creating Quasi-Markets in Education: A Review of Recent Research on Parental Choice and School Autonomy in Three Countries," Review of Research in Education 22, ed. Michael W. Apple (Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association, 1997).

37 Martin Carnoy, "Is School Privatization the Answer? Data from the Experience of Other Countries Suggest Not," Education Week, July 12, 1995.