Stephen Dyer is a very insightful and reliable analyst of school issues in Ohio. He used to be a legislator. He reads bills and budgets. He keeps everyone informed about the intellectual fraud that perpetuates the diversion of public funds to failing charters and voucher schools. In this post, he dissects a recent paper by the Fordham Institute, which is an outspoken advocate of school privatization. Fordham, writes Dyer, said the quiet part out loud. A few years ago, Fordham funded a study by David Figlio on vouchers in Ohio that showed their negative effects, but they try to ignore their own study.

Dyer writes:

There’s been some news coverage today of Fordham’s latest foray into fantasy — a study they claim proves EdChoice vouchers are perfectly fine and dandy for kids and taxpayers.

However, tucked away in one of their “findings” is a kind of startling admission — that EdChoice forces local school districts to rely more on property taxes to pay for educating the students in public schools.

“Combined with the decrease in enrollments, this dynamic led to a 10-15 percent increase in local revenue per pupil.”

I’m sure the study’s author(s) had no idea what they had just done. But those of us who have been saying the same thing for years sure did. This is an admission that EdChoice means that students not taking EdChoice vouchers have to rely more on local, voter approved property taxes to pay for their educations — the exact thing that the Ohio Supreme Court ruled four different times made Ohio’s school funding system unconstitutional.

“The overreliance on local property taxes is the fatal flaw that until rectified will stand in the way of constitutional compliance,” ruled Justice Alice Robie Resnick in the 4th and final DeRolph decision in 2002.

So it was nice of Fordham to admit this. However, the report went on to spend a lot of time trying to minimize the potentially existential lawsuit Ohio’s voucher program faces, as well as mocking me and others as “Chicken Littles” (because those with a winning argument always use ad hominem attacks to strengthen their position).

The study blows minimal to zero impacts on student success into enormous justification for increasing taxpayer subsidies for private school tuitions. As Michigan State’s Josh Cowen put it: “First and most important: the study presents a ton of zero impacts and tiny effects. Mostly this is a #schoolvouchers report about statistical noise, packaged as a win.”

Exactly.

Take the information on segregation. The study compares the racial makeup of voucher students with the statewide racial makeup of Ohio students. The study’s author, Stephane Lavertu of Ohio State University (who taxpayers paid $132,968 in 2019 to educate students) was very careful to only compare the racial makeup of EdChoice recipients with public school students “statewide”.

Because he knows that EdChoice voucher students don’t come from every district. They come from majority-minority districts.

There are 95 districts that lose 10 students or more to EdChoice. In 76 of those districts, accounting for 87% of all vouchers given through the program, a higher percentage of white students take vouchers than there are in that district.

The average difference between white students taking vouchers and white students in those 76 districts was 76.2%. That means that in the districts where 87% of voucher students come from, voucher recipients are 76.2% more likely to be white than their public school counterparts.

My friends, that’s White Flight. Like, obvious White Flight.

Dear reader, do these data suggest — as Huffman wants you to think — that these segregation issues are “isolated examples”?

If 87% of voucher recipients are more likely to be white than the districts they come from, is that really “isolated”? Or is it “systemic”?

I mean in Huffman’s own district of Lima, Temple Christian takes 100% white voucher students. From a district that’s 35% white….

The vouchers worsen segregation. The students in voucher schools do worse on state tests than the public schools they left. What is more, “voucher students do worse on state tests the longer they take the voucher.”

A lose-lose, for students, for public schools, and for the state.

Nonetheless, despite failure, the state Teoublican legislature wants more vouchers and more failure!

Please open the link and keep reading this important post.