Beginning with James Coleman’s research in the 1960s, comparisons of public and private schools have suffered under a powerful critique: that such comparisons can never fully account for differences in the types of students who attend public and private schools. For instance, are families that choose private schools more committed to education? The only way to neutralize these concerns is to randomly offer students a chance to go to private school and see what happens—a condition that the voucher programs of the 1990s have satisfied. Studies of these programs, however, have met with no less sound and fury. Herewith the findings from voucher programs in four cities, followed by economist Dan Goldhaber’s commentary.
Vouchers in New York, Dayton, and D.C.
by WILLIAM J. HOWELL, PATRICK J. WOLF, PAUL E. PETERSON, & DAVID E. CAMPBELL
Vouchers in Charlotte
by JAY P. GREENE
Significant, but Not Decisive
by DAN GOLDHABER