Monday, April 29, 2013

Life After Vouchers

What Happens to Students Who Leave Private Schools for the Traditional Public Sector?

  1. Deven Carlson
    1. University of Oklahoma
  2. Joshua M. Cowen
    1. University of Kentucky
  3. David J. Fleming
    1. Furman University


Few school choice evaluations consider students who leave such programs, and fewer still consider the effects of leaving these programs as policy-relevant outcomes. Using a representative sample of students from the citywide voucher program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we analyze more than 1,000 students who leave the program during a 4-year period. We show that low-performing voucher students tend to move from the voucher sector into lower performing and less effective public schools than the typical public school student attends, whereas high-performing students transfer to better public schools. In general, transferring students realize substantial achievement gains after moving to the public sector; these results are robust to multiple analytical approaches. This evidence has important implications for school choice policy and research.

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