Friday, October 31, 2008

the economics of educational vouchers (for disabled students)

Evidence out of Florida from Jay Greene and Marcus Winters with the Manhattan Institute...

The executive summary:

This study is the first empirical evaluation of a voucher program for disabled students. The report evaluates the impact of Florida’s McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities—the largest school voucher program in the United States—on the achievement of disabled students who remain in their local public schools. Of the various types of voucher programs in the United States, those for disabled students are the fastest-growing.

Using data on public school students in Florida from 2000-01 through 2004-05, the authors found that reading and math test scores of students who were eligible for McKay vouchers but remained in the public schools improved substantially, even as private school alternatives became more available. The largest category of disabled students—those with Specific Learning Disability, a mild form of disability, accounting for 8.5 percent of all students in Florida—enjoyed the greatest gains. The academic proficiency of students diagnosed with more severe disabilities was neither helped nor harmed.


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