Aug 23, 2012

Research Shows Vouchers in Elementary Schools Have Lasting Impact

BATON ROUGE, La. - Enrollment in college increased 24 percent for African American students who received a scholarship to attend a private school, according to a study released today by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. College enrollment for students who were offered, but didn’t accept, a scholarship saw a 20 percent increase. The study evaluated the impact of the New York School Choice Scholarship Foundation Program, which offered a three-year, privately-funded scholarship to 2,666 elementary students in 1997.

"This study provides empirical evidence for what we’ve always believed - that parents know better than bureaucracies how to prepare their child for college," said Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White. "When we let parents decide what’s best for their child, we will see rising student achievement and ultimately more college graduates in Louisiana."

The Louisiana Scholarship Program offered scholarships to more than 5,600 students to enroll in one of 119 public and private schools participating in the program. Students in the program will have to take state tests to measure their achievement of state adopted academic standards. The Louisiana Department of Education will hold private schools participating in the program accountable for the test results of scholarship students.

"All students should be held to the same high expectations but schools - both public and private - should have maximum flexibility to determine how to help students achieve these higher expectations," said White. "We need to allow those closest to children - not state government - make decisions that determine their success. As a result of reform enacted earlier this year, more parents have the ability to choose the school and, even the course, for their child and all teachers and school leaders have the ability to develop and deliver instruction in the classroom."

To read the full report, please click here.

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