Check out these two articles arguing for new ways of analyzing the success of school choice, and suggesting that we look beyond test scores for the answers. First, an op-ed by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat and then the Frederick Hess article in National Affairs that Douthat references in his column.
It has been our experience at Children’s Scholarship Fund that empowering parents with choices of where to send their children to school leads to, in many cases, higher grades and test scores — but also greater parental involvement, higher levels of satisfaction with school, and better graduation rates. Quite a bargain when you consider that our scholarship amounts are much lower than the per-pupil spending in conventional public schools!
According to Douthat:
Maybe charter schools, merit pay and vouchers won’t instantly turn every American child into a test-acing dynamo. But if they “only” create a more cost-effective system that makes parents and students happier with their schools — well, that would be no small feat, and well worth fighting for.