In a study of public school choice in San Diego, researchers found “such programs do seem to have helped to integrate San Diego’s student bodies, not only along racial-ethnic lines but also in terms of students’ parental education levels.” While choice programs are very popular, evidence of higher achievement is unclear, concluded the Public Policy Institute of California.
With some exceptions—elevated math achievement for students in magnet high schools — those who won lotteries that allowed them to attend choice programs did about the same on standardized tests as non-winners one to three years later.
Stuart Buck claims to be baffled by reaction to the study.
Educators often state in no uncertain terms that you can’t measure the value of education solely by looking at test scores. Education is about much more than filling in the right circles on a multiple-choice math test, they say. But whenever a study comes out showing that, contrary to a lot of previous research, kids in private or charter schools don’t necessarily have higher scores, some of the same people leap all over the news as proof that vouchers or charter schools are “not the answer.” It’s almost as if they switch their position on the validity of tests based on what’s politically convenient at the time.