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May 25, 2020 10:00 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs talks with Marty Lueken, Director of Fiscal Policy and Analysis for EdChoice. Lueken shares EdChoice’s recent report, which analyzed much of the existing research on school choice programs nationwide.
Family policy matters in engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fold better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters. Tracy David Griggs, thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters programs that promote and help pay for school choice are a hot topic politically in a very quiet debt between states and form function and effectiveness. When here in North Carolina we have charter schools which are public special-needs scholarships, opportunity scholarships and education savings accounts which are all designed to provide parents with more choices and where to send their kids to school with over 150 empirical studies on the effectiveness of school choice programs that can make the evaluation seem overwhelming.
Marty Luken is here to help us with that. He is director of fiscal policy and analysis for Ed choice, which has recently done an in-depth review of the available research on school choice programs in America, Marty Luken. Welcome to family policy matters for your report you looked at seven different factors. What are they and why did you choose those we look at several outcomes private school choice programs and youth outcomes were scores on students participating in these programs, educational attainment of students participating in these programs.
Current inspection test scores of students who remain in public schools, values, and practices. Racial integration in schools and fiscal effects on taxpayers. The outcomes we cover encapsulate the personal benefits of students and families. And from Parker's regular news programs as well as studies on the effects of these programs have on community use apparent society. So, what kinds of school choice programs does your report. Evaluate our report looks at research on private school choice programs only because we think the best program for.
So it's actually our view that all families should have access to the educational environment that best fits. Whatever that may be, but our publication focuses though on public school choice programs includes school voucher programs tax credit scholarship programs and education savings accounts or ESI programs.
Okay that's good to know. So what you find when looking at the personal outcomes of school choice programs. Overall, the research tools positive first parents are very satisfied with these programs. That's a result, you see quite consistently spotty research.
Nearly every study that we reviewed 29/30 total sound that parents participate in a private school choice programs are more satisfied with their chosen private school than their previous school, and there are also more satisfied with their schools of the other type of school term certain public school parents who are purchased Reagan-Bush programs. They're the ones who know what's best for their children. What are some other outcomes that you sent. Researchers also studied the effects of choice programs on participant test scores. The study also tends to leave him positive of 17 studies included in our review of 17 studies, 11 some positive effects, free from negative effects on L4 didn't detect any affect. We did see large negative effects on test scores from Louisiana structure program, while in other places we sought neutral to positive effects on test scores from Dr. programs in Washington DC, Milwaukee, as well as with privately funded voucher programs in several large cities, including Charlotte of the picture is more positive when it comes to longer-term effects. So we see neutral to positive effects on high school graduation and college attainment from other postsecondary outcomes of six studies that we reviewed for show positive effects on these long-term outcomes, and to not detect any affect what say that it's also important to recognize that these programs vary greatly and held her designer graduated somewhere more heavily regulated than average. Some use the state accountability test.
For example, others do not. They are funded differently. They operate in a different geography used there available to the different groups of families and students salute Louisiana's experience I think provides a good example of how context is important to understand what these results can tell us result from customer outcomes were negative and surprising, but Louisiana's program tends to be more heavily regulated than most other programs, so a consequence of how this degree program was designed was that two thirds of all private schools in Louisiana declined to participate in the program, researchers compared schools that basically said no thank you.
Compared with the one third of schools within China for the program and what they found was interesting that the schools with higher tuition levels and throwing enrollments, they were less likely to sign up psychically. That suggests that we got were the lower quality schools that ended up signing up for the program is another take away then that just because somebody can get some assistance to go to a private school does not necessarily mean that's going to be a better school right we still as parents have to do our homework gently and check things out. That's true, but a consideration to that based on this one. Measure might not look so good but there may be other reasons that parents are choosing to send their children to that school.
So there may be other things that that school is providing them parents do care about a lot of things with R survey were to week we noticed they do care about things like inculcating moral values, which are about safety and should split academics and customers. Maybe it's just one thing that some predators care about and I think that's a great point.
There are some things that are just not measurable. That certainly would could make that worth it for them. So, good point about the societal outcomes of these programs you mentioned that you studied those as well yeah so there is a body of empirical research on the effects of private school choice programs on racial integration and civic outcomes and again we see that the results tend to be positive. That is when he states that introduce programs that promote education opportunity for families week. We tend to see schools become more integrated and we also see that these programs tend to have positive effects upon students exhibiting tolerance for the rights of others on civic knowledge and participation. Students are more likely to volunteer as well as increase voter behavior. What I find interesting also split one of the most frequent criticisms about educational choice programs is that they siphon resources from public schools and harm students by somehow leaving them behind so that is an empirical question and that's also been evaluated with the data which we cover all in our publication.
We peer review that put plainly good body of rigorous research does not support that claim that these programs are training resources and target students.
For example, 2070 studies have examined the effects of these programs on test scores of students who remain in public schools in almost every one of them find that students experience modest positive gains in test scores in math and reading test scores when it comes to the fiscal effects. The evidence will again lose overwhelmingly positive views. These programs generate large fiscal benefits for taxpayers in the that shouldn't be surprised if that makes sense because these programs have largely been designed to do this, that is, these programs are publicly funded at a much lower level when compared to how much taxpayers are funding their public school systems in many cases, the cost of these programs per student is less than 1/2 of the per student cost of the public school system interesting.
Alright, so what overall did you find were the biggest strengths or benefits of school choice programs nationwide. I think it's quite simple to use.
These programs are family centric, and they are student centric. These programs promote educational opportunity by providing options for countless families across the country and when you expand access and increase the kinds of educational options that are available for all families, not just the privileged once everyone benefits, and families have more opportunity to find the right fit for their child because of police programs psychically. What we need is a system that empowers parents to have access to alternatives in case the default wheel school doesn't work well for them. And in these programs put parents in the driver seat so as you said public schools work for some people and they are satisfied with that. But course, there are some failures in the public schools but also in private schools. So what are the weaknesses, particularly in the programs that are supporting the private school choice programs. I think that states should take care with these programs by not making them too narrow.
Of course we want programs that serve those most in need, but I think we also want programs where the constituent tree cutting defendant program and to educational choice programs are routinely under correct and under attack. So I think that someone opening the program to the middle class would help to push back against us and we stretch the help to the protectors, programs also regulations and policy design is also very important.
You want to get the policy right.
You want the right regulatory framework. So I think that you want to program with low barriers to entry. The RIGHT protections. Of course you want to have a conditioning so that a diverse set of quality educational providers are willing to participate here in North Carolina. Did you find anything in your study that was specific to North Carolina she show there were three studies that are older studies on, they examined privately funded scholarship program in Charlotte and those studies found that students who use the scholarship to attend a private school scored higher in math and reading than students who are remained in the public schools also apparently participated in the program were also more likely to assign higher letter grades trigger private schools that they chose the public school parents were also much more likely to report. Be very satisfied with different characteristics about the private schools, such as safety of teacher quality class I teach a moral values from getting the support, more recently there was a study by tumor researchers at North Carolina state University.
They look at the experience of the parents who applied to North Carolina's opportunity scholarship program apparent to use the voucher appeared satisfied with the program. 71% of parents. The program reported that they were very satisfied with certain school characteristics against a few, and structuring character values were high Apocalypse parents orchestrate of the program were also more likely to break your children. Schools hired from the school so they left about 1/3 of parents noted that they left the public system because of school quality, one quarter parents left over concerning Sublette school safety, and the researchers also studied why some parents who applied to the program did not use their vouchers and as you might imagine, you know, there were many reasons for families that did not use the voucher on the biggest reason was related to cost. So even with the voucher which is worth up to about $4000 per student to private tuition and fees were too much for the families to afford. So some families who use vouchers needed to find ways to supplement to assuring but overall you're right, it's encouraging families benefit from choice programs like North Carolina's looking interesting, but we are just about out of time for this week before we go. Marty works. Our listeners go if they want to dig deeper and get a copy of Ed choices report entitled the 123's of school choice, will we have all kinds of tools and information about educational choice programs at www.choice.org and to figure 3.
Reports just click on menu research and you will be able to read and download all our publications wonderful Marty Luken with an choice. Thank you so much for sharing your findings on school choice and being with us today on family policy matters. You been listening to family policy matters. We hope you enjoy the program and plenitude in again next week to listen to the show online insulin more about NC families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across both are Lotta good or website it NC family.award that's NC family.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family