NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Voucher Experiments Show Competition Works

June 19, 2001

Competition fueled by school-choice programs across the country from Milwaukee, Wis., to Pensacola, Fla., to San Antonio, Texas, has improved the quality of education in those areas, says Matt Moore, an NCPA policy analyst.

According to a soon-to-be-released NCPA study by Kaleem Caire and former Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent Howard Fuller, most of the arguments leveled against school choice are distortions, half-truths and lies.

Claim: For example, Wisconsin State Rep. Christine Sinicki says, "Choice schools are picking and choosing the children they want, but public schools cannot turn away anyone who comes to their door."

Fact: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, "No student has formally complained of being denied admission to any choice school. There also appear to have been no such claims from a parent or family in Ohio or Florida, the other two states with voucher programs mainly for low-income families."

Claim: Sam Carmen, executive director of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, argues, "Voucher programs in the city of Milwaukee adversely affect schools and class sizes are increasing while programs like art, music and physical education are being reduced."

Fact: Education budgets in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Ohio, and Pensacola have all increased significantly. In Milwaukee, enrollment grew 8 percent, real spending increased 29 percent, state aid jumped 55 percent, and the tax levy dropped by one-third.

Claim: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D., N.Y.) has said, "Experiments have demonstrated absolutely no evidence that vouchers help improve student achievement."

Fact: Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that students who take advantage of vouchers make positive academic strides.

Source: Matt Moore (NCPA policy analyst), "Talking Down Vouchers," Guest Comment, National Review Online, June 18, 2001.


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