The National Education Policy Center published a review of a pro-voucher brief by the Institute for Justice, which publishes advocacy pieces on behalf of school choice. The author of the review, Christopher Lubienski of the University of Indiana, is a national authority on the subject.

There is one fact about vouchers that discredits all the debates: In Florida, which has an expansive voucher program, voucher schools may hire teachers who have not graduated college and are not certified. Voucher schools do not take state tests. Vouchers seems to be a code word for deschooling, not exactly what Ivan Illich had in mind.

 

BOULDER, CO (March 7, 2019) – Researchers have built a substantial body of evidence about policies that use vouchers to fund private schooling, so an honest attempt to bring together that research could have real value. But readers will be disappointed if they look to the Institute for Justice (IJ) for that report.

Christopher Lubienski of Indiana University reviewed the IJ’s report, 12 Myths and Realities about Private Educational Choice Programs. He considers the merits of each of the 12 claims, and finds that the report fails to take advantage of this body of research, instead offering little more than a simplistic and one-sided treatment of the empirical record.

Setting out 12, often cartoonishly caricatured, “myths” about vouchers, the report proceeds to systematically dismiss each myth. The evidence presented in the report is based largely on previous work from other advocacy groups that curated evidence—much of it highly questionable—on the advantages of vouchers. Accordingly, the IJ report repeats earlier advocacy claims, even when flaws in those works have already been publicly explained. In doing so, the report makes claims that are not supported, and in fact sometimes contradicted, by evidence in the sources it cites.

The report provides a textbook case of echo-chamber advocacy. Professor Lubienski concludes that it offers nothing useful in furthering our understanding of school vouchers.

Find the review, by Christopher Lubienski, at:

https://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/voucher-myths

Find 12 Myths and Realities about Private Educational Choice Programs, edited by Tim Keller and published by the Institute for Justice, at:

https://ij.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/school-choice-myths-and-realities-2nd-PRINTING-FINAL.pdf