There are a great many reasons to support educational choice: maximizing freedomrespecting pluralismreducing social conflictempowering the poor, and so on. One reason is simply this: it works.

This week, researchers Patrick J. Wolf, M. Danish Shakeel, and Kaitlin P. Anderson of the University of Arkansas released the results of their painstaking meta-analysis of the international, gold-standard research on school choice programs, which concluded that, on average, such programs have a statistically significant positive impact on student performance on reading and math tests. Moreover, the magnitude of the positive impact increased the longer students participated in the program.
As Wolf observed in a blog post explaining the findings, the “clarity of the results… contrasts with the fog of dispute that often surrounds discussions of the effectiveness of private school choice.”

The meta-analysis found that, on average, participating in a school choice program improves student test scores by about 0.27 standard deviations in reading and 0.15 standard deviations in math. In laymen’s terms, these are “highly statistically significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.”


Curated from, the CATO institute.
Written by, Jason Bedrick