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Report Presents a Simplistic, Ideological Solution to the Complex Issue of Private School Vouchers

BOULDER, CO (November 16, 2021) – A recent report from the Manhattan Institute addresses the question of how private school voucher programs should be regulated, asking the important question of what accountability mechanisms will safeguard taxpayer dollars if private schools are to receive public funds.

Jack Schneider of University of Massachusetts Lowell reviewed Accountability and Private-School Choice. He found that it unfortunately offers only simplistic solutions grounded in assumptions and ideology rather than in research evidence.

The report advocates for relaxing accountability mechanisms that presently constrain some voucher programs, asserting that “more and better” private schools will participate in response, thereby benefitting students academically.

However, Professor Schneider explains, such claims are supported by a selective reading and intentional misreading of educational research. The report largely eschews peer-reviewed scholarship in favor of sympathetic policy reports, but it also draws on academic research chosen in highly selective fashion. In both instances, this use of research is designed to advance an ideologically motivated argument.

Insofar as that is the case, the report merely repeats well-worn dogmatic positions. Accordingly, it neither advances what we know about the challenge of regulating private schools subsidized by vouchers nor offers useful information for policy decisions.

Find the review, by Jack Schneider, at:
https://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/accountability-choice

Find Accountability and Private-School Choice, written by Nicole Stelle Garnett and published by the Manhattan Institute, at:
https://media4.manhattan-institute.org/sites/default/files/MI-Garnett-AccountabilityPrivateSchoolChoice-v3.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu