Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Empirical evidence on school choice

Andrew Coulson of The Gantelope has assembled "A Quick Guide to the Scholarly Literature on School Choice."

He concludes that the empirical evidence favors school choice, but that the opponents of choice are doing a better job getting the word out:
During a recent round of visits with print journalists, I spoke to a newspaper editor who told me that she receives between five and ten times as many press releases attacking school choice as she receives in support of it. In particular, she is regularly apprised of studies published or funded by teachers unions, but was largely unaware of any research that might reflect favorably on parental choice and competition among schools.

In reality, the vast majority of sound empirical studies comparing competitive education markets to state-run school monopolies give the edge to markets. A few find no significant differences, and only the tiniest percentage find any sort of advantage to the state-run schools. The consensus of the valid empirical research is clear: Competitive markets of minimally regulated nongovernment schools regularly outperform state school monopolies. They do this, moreover, both at the level of individual student effects and broader social outcomes.