Virtual School Meanderings

September 13, 2021

Policy Brief: School Voucher Implementation Costs Outweigh Academic Benefits

A think tank policy report review by the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

Sept. 9, 2021READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:
School voucher systems have increased in popularity as a means of enabling students and families to use public funds for private education. Implementing these voucher systems can require costly changes in governance, administration, transportation and more.
The economic costs of expanding access to private school vouchers could be huge, according to a new economic analysis. At least a dozen state legislatures this year expanded voucher programs or created new ones, and that could result in an annual economic cost between $66.5 billion and $203 billion.
Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz
Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice 

SUMMARY

Professors Robert Shand of American University and Henry Levin of Teachers College, Columbia University, authored the policy brief “Estimating a Price Tag for School Vouchers,.” The policy brief examines the economic impact a universal voucher system would have on American taxpayers.
Questions about the economic impact of school vouchers have gone largely unanswered. Based on evidence, the authors analyzed five different areas of potential increased costs including with the accommodation of additional students and administration, which would come with expanding school voucher programs.
There’s no state in the nation that operates a universal voucher system, so the authors examined those on a smaller scale. They found that the total public costs of education would increase between 11% to 33% with universal vouchers. This price tag calls into question any rationale about scaling up voucher policies.
The resulting calculations also identify a need for weighing the total voucher spending against current and future evidence of likely effectiveness or benefits.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The policy brief’s authors make the following recommendations based on their findings:
  • Future proposals and research should be transparent about the costs of a voucher system, including how the costs can change by accommodating additional students, regulation and oversite, among other factors.
  • Evaluations of vouchers should include data on costs that is gathered through an established method.
  • Policymakers should weigh the total costs of a given voucher policy against evidence of the effectiveness or benefits.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

The school choice policy of school vouchers allows public funds to be used to pay the cost of attending private schools. Evaluations have found negative impacts of voucher systems on the academic outcomes of students. Given those outcomes, it’s important to have a real picture of the costs of implementing voucher systems as using public money to fund them removes resources from public schools without any real proof of effectiveness.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
The large price tag of school voucher systems calls into question efforts to expand these #schoolchoice programs. Read more: The large price tag of school voucher systems calls into question efforts to expand these #schoolchoice programs. Read more:
There’s no real proof of the effectiveness of #schoolvoucher programs. That’s why we need a real picture of the public costs it takes to implement them. There’s no real proof of the effectiveness of #schoolvoucher programs. That’s why we need a real picture of the public costs it takes to implement them.
From @NEPCtweet: Evaluations have found negative impacts of voucher systems on the academic outcomes of students. From @NEPCtweet: Evaluations have found negative impacts of voucher systems on the academic outcomes of students.
Follow Us
Facebook
Twitter
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

September 3, 2021

Report Provides Deeply Flawed Picture of Special Education Funding for Charter Schools

A notice of this report from the National Education Policy Center.

September 2, 2021

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
Bruce D. Baker: (303) 492-8370, bruce.baker@gse.rutgers.edu

Report Provides Deeply Flawed Picture of Special Education Funding for Charter Schools

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: No valid conclusions can be drawn about special education population differences, needs, costs, or funding gaps from the inaccurate methods presented in report.

EAST LANSING, MI (September 2, 2021) – A recent brief from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas erroneously asserts that charter schools are shortchanged of funding for students with disabilities.

Bruce Baker of Rutgers University reviewed Charter School Funding: Support for Students with Disabilities, and found it to ignore substantial differences in the classifications, needs, and costs of children with disabilities in district-operated versus charter schools. Most obviously, the available data suggests that the students with disabilities that charter schools enroll have, on average, less severe needs.

In addition, Professor Baker points to the report’s exclusive citing of deeply flawed, self-published evidence of a purported charter school funding gap more generally, while it ignored more rigorous studies yielding contradictory findings.

As such, he concludes, the report adds no value to legitimate debate over the comparability or adequacy of general or special education funding of charter schools.

Find the review, by Bruce D. Baker, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find Charter School Funding: Support for Students with Disabilities, written by Cassidy Syftestad, Patrick J. Wolf, Wendy Tucker, and Lauren Morando Rhim and published by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas, at:
https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/wordpressua.uark.edu/dist/9/544/files/2018/10/charter-school-funding-support-for-students-with-disabilities.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: https://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

– ### –

 Friend on Facebook

 Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

June 23, 2021

Report from Federal Reserve Bank Comes Up Short

Note this item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

June 22, 2021

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
Bruce D. Baker: (848) 932-0698, bruce.baker@gse.rutgers.edu

Report from Federal Reserve Bank Comes Up Short

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Report contends, with little real evidence, that new constitutional provisions concerning education lead to substantive and sustained improvement to school funding, quality, and student outcomes.

EAST LANSING, MI (June 15, 2021) – The Effect of Constitutional Provisions on Education Policy and Outcomes, a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, examines the potential effects of amending education clauses contained in states’ constitutions.

Bruce D. Baker of Rutgers University reviewed the report and found its conclusions to be overly simplistic, despite using excessively complex analyses to make its case.

The apparent intent of the Federal Reserve Bank report is to provide an empirical justification for amending the education clause of Minnesota’s constitution. Specifically, the report lays out four independent empirical analyses in an attempt to advance a theory of action for improving education quality. This theory of action asserts that amending these education clauses to include strong language regarding a legislative duty to fund schools leads to increased citizen leverage, potential judicial intervention, and adopted legislation-all of which lead to better school quality and student outcomes.

Unfortunately, the four analyses presented in the report use methods and models that exceed the capacity and quality of the data. In addition, these methods and models are inadequately linked to one another or to the theory of action.

Professor Baker concludes that the report provides little evidentiary basis for the proposed theory of action or for the current campaign to amend the Minnesota constitution.

Find the review, by Bruce D. Baker, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find The Effect of Constitutional Provisions on Education Policy and Outcomes, written by Scott Dallman, Anusha Nath and Filip Premik and published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, at:
https://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/staff-reports/the-effect-of-constitutional-provisions-on-education-policy-and-outcomes

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: https://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

– ### –

 Friend on Facebook

 Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

June 18, 2021

Universal Pre-K

Note this item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

June 17, 2021READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Universal Pre-K programs are having a moment, thanks in large part to President Biden’s advocacy for significant expansion. In recent history, early childhood program expansion has enjoyed bipartisan support in many states. The Manhattan Institute recently published “The Drawbacks of Universal Pre-K: A review of the Evidence.” We commissioned W. Steven Barnett, senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, to review the Manhattan report.
Read on to learn what Barnett found.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

SUMMARY

  • Research shows public investments in early childcare and education can produce significant benefits including increased maternal employment, family earnings, improved child well-being, school readiness and a host of later educational, social and economic outcomes.
  • Because of omissions of research and unjustified assumptions, the Manhattan report is a misleading and inadequate policy guide.
  • The title of the Manhattan report is misleading as it specifies only universal Pre-K, but the actual brief also reviews evidence on means-tested programs as well. Mean-tested programs use family income to determine eligibility.
  • The policy recommendations in the Manhattan brief are too simplistic given the complexity of early childhood care and education.
  • The brief’s assertion that highly disadvantaged children benefit most from high-quality early childhood education is supported by research.
  • Universal programs with high quality early childhood education may be better than means-test programs at enrolling disadvantaged children while benefitting other children.
  • If universal subsidies for cheap childcare are substituted for investments in high-quality Pre-K, the promised benefits will not materialize.
Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

There are many likely benefits to American children and families from expansion of high-quality early childhood education programs. However, achieving the benefits of universal early education is not done through simplistic recommendations or political pandering. It is vital that we to take a wide look at policy recommendations on universal early education based on a non-biased, non-political, look at the research.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. The Manhattan Institute on Universal Pre-K brief makes critical omissions and assumptions that cause it to be misleading and inadequate as a guide for policymakers.
  1. Simply subsidizing low-quality childcare without investing in high quality early childhood education will mean that the promised benefits of universal Pre-K will not materialize.
  1. The Manhattan report makes several unwarranted assertions that short-term benefits are ignorable, that cognitive benefits are unimportant, and that women’s employment should not be a consideration.
  1. The Manhattan report espouses direct payments to parents but provides no evidence of any positive effect on child development.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A new brief recommends rolling back coverage of existing #preschool education programs, but its recommendations are too simplistic and skewed. #universalprek #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute Read more: A new brief recommends rolling back coverage of existing #preschool education programs, but its recommendations are too simplistic and skewed. #universalprek #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute Read more:
A @NEPCtweet review found a brief on #UniversalPreK ignored existing research and is misleading for policymakers. #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute A @NEPCtweet review found a brief on #UniversalPreK ignored existing research and is misleading for policymakers. #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute
Policymakers proposing to expand access to #preschool should assure that programs are quality. #universalpreK #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute Policymakers proposing to expand access to #preschool should assure that programs are quality. #universalpreK #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute
Follow Us
Facebook
Twitter
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

June 16, 2021

Report Uses Weak Data and Methods to Promote School Choice

Note this item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

June 15, 2021

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
T. Jameson Brewer: (678) 910-2744, Jameson.Brewer@ung.edu

Report Uses Weak Data and Methods to Promote School Choice

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Methodological flaws and inattention to the larger research base on school choice lead to the authors’ preferred conclusions.

EAST LANSING, MI (June 15, 2021) – A recent brief from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas is being used by voucher advocates to argue that increasing school choice can spur broad test score improvements.

However, T. Jameson Brewer of the University of North Georgia and Joel Malin of Miami University reviewed Education Freedom and Student Achievement: Is More School Choice Associated with Higher State-Level Performance on the NAEP?, and found significant methodological weaknesses and flaws that render the report useless for guiding policy.

The report ranks states based on their expansion of market-oriented school policies such as vouchers, charters, homeschooling, and inter-district choice. It then constructs a regression model using this “education freedom” ranking along with per-pupil spending and student/teacher ratio, and using each state’s combined math plus reading NAEP scores as the dependent variable.

This creative approach yields an unexpected negative relationship between higher spending and the combined NAEP levels. The student/teacher ratio variable does show the expected inverse relationship to outcomes (the more students per teacher, the lower NAEP scores). Oddly, while the two variables-spending and student/teacher ratio-would be expected to be highly correlated, the study does not explore or address this concern by, for example, exploring alternative modeling choices.

The report’s main finding is that, after controlling for spending, student/teacher ratio, household income, and percent White students, the model shows a positive correlation between “freedom” and these scores (as well as NAEP score gains since 2003). While repeatedly stating that their data and methods “cannot establish conclusively whether education freedom caused those changes,” the authors also repeatedly trumpet the association teased out by their model and urge policymakers to embrace school choice policies. Readers are ultimately informed of the “reality” that “[s]chool choice has its best chance to influence NAEP scores and gains across an entire state by delivering competitive pressure to district-run public schools.”

Professors Brewer and Malin point out, however, that the report’s data and methods can, at best, suggest a relationship that should then be examined using a stronger research design. They also explain that the report, by ignoring relevant peer-reviewed research that has found negative consequences of school choice reforms, does not engage meaningfully with the larger body of research. Indeed, the reviewers identify significant methodological flaws that cast doubt on the report’s findings. Major faults include issues related to independent variable construction, the use of an unusually combined dependent variable, and the inclusion of a student group that is untested via the NAEP.

Moreover, the methodology fails to scrutinize dubious findings emerging from their models-particularly with regard to spending on education. Instead, the report uses such findings to buttress its concluding claim that a package of school choice reforms is desirable and beneficial.

These shortcomings undermine the report’s conclusions and render the study, as currently presented, useless for purposes of guiding policymaking.

Find the review, by T. Jameson Brewer and Joel Malin, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find Education Freedom and Student Achievement: Is More School Choice Associated with Higher State-Level Performance on the NAEP?, written by Patrick J. Wolf, Jay P. Greene, Matthew Ladner, and James D. Paul and published by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas, at:
https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/wordpressua.uark.edu/dist/9/544/files/2018/10/education-freedom-and-naep-scores.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: https://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

– ### –

 Friend on Facebook

 Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.