The University of Arkansas has a “Department of Education Reform”  that exists to prove the value of school choice. Members of the department churn out studies demonstrating the success of school choice.

They just published a study of vouchers in Louisiana, in which they acknowledged that students who use vouchers don’t get higher scores. Well, that undermines the familiar trope about “saving poor kids from failing schools.”

But do not despair, Walton funders. The researchers you fund assert that students with vouchers are more likely to graduate from high school.

But there is a problem, as Mercedes Schneider, a researcher and high school teacher in Louisiana, observes. Their findings are not statistically significant. 

She calls the study “another festival of nothing.”

Chalkbeat reported on the study. But even Chalkbeat noted that the results were not statistically significant.

As Schneider writes:

”The University of Arkansas (UArk) has a Department of Ed Reform (EDRE) funded by the Waltons, who spend untold millions (billions?) promoting school choice in the form of charters and vouchers.

“Thus it comes as no surprise that EDRE studies school voucher programs, including the one in Louisiana, called the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), which has not fared well in voucher research.

“In EDRE’s latest study on Louisiana vouchers, researchers considered two groups of high schoolers who chose to participate in LSP: those who were awarded their first choice of LSP-participating private school and those who did not receive their first choice. The outcome measure of interest was initial college enrollment (enrolled or not enrolled in 2- or 4-year institutions).

“So, this is not a study in which students who chose vouchers are being compared to those who did not choose vouchers at all (and who did not choose to leave a public school for a voucher-accepting private school). It is a study comparing only students who chose to participate in LSP (and who were granted first-choice school) with other students who chose to participate in LSP (and who were not granted first-choice school).

“The findings amount to nothing.”

Nothing. Not statistically significant.

The students were not saved.

Hey, Walton Family Foundation. Stop wasting money on vouchers.

Support public schools.