Rotherham on vouchers

In his latest column, Andy Rotherham provides a fair-minded appraisal of the school voucher debate as he attempts to disspell the common myths that are tossed around like rhetorical hand grenades. Vouchers don’t drain money from traditional public schools, Rotherham argues, nor do they skim the best students. On the flip side, he says, we need more evidence to support the contention from some that vouchers lead to higher academic achievement and that the resulting competition for students leads to greater results overall for public schools (although on this note, Rotherham does reference the results from a recent study of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship which found that the competitive effect boosted the academic performance of public schools faced with the threat of losing students).

Notably, Rotherham concludes his column with a statement that arguably should guide the debate over school choice, but too often does not:

Parents should worry a lot less about the legal status of a particular school than whether it’s the right school for their child. A good fit depends on a host of factors including a strong academic program, successful outcomes, a clear curriculum, areas of emphasis like arts or technology, and even lifestyle factors such as limiting time spent in transit or a year-round schedule.

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BY Adam Emerson

Editor of redefinED, policy and communications guru for Florida education nonprofit