Competition from charter and private schools is the key to transforming education, concludes Pursuing Innovation, a new report from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
District school students make achievement gains when their schools are competing with charters or private schools that accept school vouchers and tax-credit scholarships, according to 30 of 42 studies analyzed.
Most educational choice programs result in “modest improvements” at district schools, the report found.
However, in Florida (tax-credit scholarships) and Milwaukee (vouchers), “significant increases in publicly funded educational options resulted in bigger increases in public school students’ achievement.”
Despite significant improvement in Milwaukee’s district schools, the city’s choice students outperform Milwaukee Public Schools students in math and, especially, in English Language Arts. On Wisconsin’s statewide “Badger” tests, choice students did better than similar students in district schools.
“Empowering parents with the ability to choose a school that best suits the child’s needs is working in Wisconsin and resulting in students performing better academically,’ said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children.