Jay Greene's blog has a piece telling us that students involved in Milwaukee's voucher program graduate at a higher rate than those not in the program. Well, as Gomer Pyle once said, "Surprise, surprise!"
I suppose studies have to be done to establish facts no matter how obvious they are, but is it possible that any one could possibly even raise an eyebrow at this conclusion? Of course voucher students in a city like Milwaukee graduate at a higher rate than kids in the public school system. How could they not?
In my last post, I listed a number of my basic beliefs about public education, but there was nothing particularly profound there. Most of those beliefs are based on common sense that anyone with much contact with public education would be able to figure out.
I don't think too many people would argue with the proposition that children of parents who care about education will generally do better than those who don't, and that includes graduating at higher rates. It also seems obvious that parents who go to the trouble of enrolling their kids in a voucher program probably do so because they care about their kids education. If we put all those kids together in a private school setting where kids who don't try and don't behave can be kicked out, how could they possibly do worse?
Jay Greene, Sol Stern, and others have written books giving the impression that non-public schools do a better job than public schools because the teachers in those schools are wonderful people and there are no unions, whereas in public schools the teachers are lazy, greedy people, and everything is controlled by the unions. Well, there are other factors at work. If critics of public schools really want them to improve, and if they really want public schools to operate more like private schools, they might want to take a look at factors other than unions and the teachers who work in those schools.