I posted this study a month or so ago. But I continue to get inquiries from school board members in states that are considering the adoption of vouchers. I heard today that this study may have killed vouchers in Tennessee, at least for now (true believers never give up). Make sure that every member of your state school board and every member of your state legislature gets a copy of this study. The study was completed by researchers at MIT.

The study is titled “School Vouchers and Student Achievement: First-Year Evidence from the Louisiana Scholarship Program.” Granted, this is only the first year, but the findings are strong and devastating to the belief that vouchers (most of which go to religious schools) will “save poor kids from failing public schools.” The study compared the test scores of lottery winners and lottery losers, which is supposedly the gold standard for voucher research.

In brief, the students who attended voucher schools lost ground academically. Attendance at a voucher private school lowered math scores by 0.4 standard deviation and increased the likelihood of a failing score by 50 percent. Voucher effects for reading, science, and social studies were also “negative and large.” The negative impacts of vouchers were consistent across all income groups. Apparently the voucher schools were the weakest private schools and were not as good as the so-called “failing public schools.”

A summary of the study appeared in The Economist magazine in the issue of February 6, 2016. If your legislator won’t read the study from MIT, maybe they will read the one-page summary in the libertarian magazine.