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VOUCHER STUDY PRETTY WEAK

Filed at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

Joanne Jacobs blogged a Manhattan Institute study that purports to show that Florida’s A+ voucher program works- that is, the competition from voucher schools causes the g-schools to improve. That may be but the study appears fatally flawed in several respects: 1) Causation is inherently difficult to prove and 2) The study groups schools into 5 categories and examines their improvement but the groupings are not mutually exclusive. In other words, schools can fall into more than one category.

Voucher Eligible Schools

These schools have received at least two Fs since FCAT grades were first given in 1998-99 and have been deemed chronically failing by the state.

Voucher Threatened Schools

Voucher Threatened Schools have received exactly one F in the three school years prior to the administration of the 2002-03 FCAT.

Always D Schools

Always D Schools have never received any grade other than D.

Ever D Schools

These schools have received at least one D since grades have been given but have never received an F. Ever D Schools includes all the schools in the Always D category.

Formerly Threatened Schools

Formerly Threatened Schools received an F in the first year of FCAT grading, 1998-99, but have not received another F since.

The study hypothesizes that the Always and Ever D schools will improve more that the Formerly Threatened Schools, but I find it difficult to believe that every school that received an “F” in the first year jumped straight to “C”. So, some of these Formerly Threatened Schools may have “earned” straight “D”s for the last four years. How would this make them any different than the Always D Schools?

The study’s authors hope to publish in a peer-reviewed journal.

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