The latest and final scheduled report on the DC voucher program is out.
Even a tiny, restricted program that’s only been around for six years increases graduation rates, has a positive impact on at least some groups of students, harms no groups of students, and does this for less than a third of what the DC Public Schools spend.
Huge sums of money saved, student performance increased, parents happier . . . why is this program being killed?
The most important part of the conclusions to me are that these gains to some students didn’t come at the expense of others, as well as the cost savings (meaning that if expanded, savings would expand, fueling a virtuous cycle of reform).
Update: Timothy Lee, sitting in for Megan McArdle, brings up a point that nicely counters Tom’s pessimistic or ungenerous claim that people won’t get involved in their own educational futures, but in a totally different context:
In his new book, Cognitive Surplus, [Clay] Shirky argues that what looked like a fact about human nature turns out to be merely an artifact of limited 20th century media technologies. Because only a small group of professional writers had access to the technologies of mass publication, it seemed obvious that writing for publication was a job for professionals. And because the rest of us had never participated in the process, it was widely assumed we didn’t want to.