School Choice: The Findings

School Choice: The Findings

School Choice: The Findings

School Choice: The Findings

Synopsis

School Choice: The Findings is the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey available summarizing the research on charter schools, vouchers, and public versus private school effectiveness. The focus is on rigorous studies - those using randomized control groups (as in medical research), those that monitor achievement changes over time, and those based on large numbers of students. The findings reviewed here go beyond academic achievement, covering students' civic engagement, cost comparisons across school types, and public and parental opinion about schools and school choice. The consensus of this research overwhelmingly favors competition and parental choice in education.

Excerpt

The United States of America is arguably the world leader in income, wealth, military power, and cultural influence. It hovers near the top of international rankings in higher education, scientific and medical discoveries, and the productivity of many of its industries. Yet U.S. schools are behind those of most other economically advanced countries in both effectiveness and efficiency. By the end of high school, U.S. academic achievement lags behind that of most member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—a group that includes most of the world's economically advanced countries.

In addition to being ineffective, American public schools are inefficient or unproductive, which is to say they get little return on taxpayers' dollars. Their per student costs rank among the top two or three countries in recent OECD surveys and have risen substantially over the last few decades. This pattern of low and declining efficiency is at odds with most other American enterprises, in which competition has generally led to improved quality and declining (inflation-adjusted) costs.

By widely accepted standards of what educated citizens should know, U.S. students perform poorly in civics, geography . . .

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