NEPC Review: The ABC's of School Choice (September 2007)
A new annual report from the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation is designed as a resource to provide ammunition for persuading people as to the merits of school choice. While there may indeed be a number of reasons to argue for school choice, this handbook shoots blanks. The report provides updated information on thirteen states and the District of Columbia with policies that approximate the Friedman Foundation's voucher-based version of school "choice." While the descriptive compendium of information is mostly accurate and somewhat useful, the report begins and ends with "Frequently Asked Questions," where the Foundation seeks to interpret the research on school choice issues for the lay reader. As might be expected from a voucher advocacy organization such as this, the report relies on a highly selective sub-sample of studies. The research referred to in the report tends toward non-peer-reviewed studies of questionable quality from other advocacy organizations, while ignoring evidence in these and other higher quality studies that questions the Foundation's unequivocal support for vouchers. Evidence — particularly on the issue of achievement — is consistently abused in this report, both by misrepresenting individual studies (including those by voucher advocates) and misrepresenting the general body of research on choice. In short, for those hoping to learn more about the issue, this one-sided report does a poor job of even representing only one side of the debate.
Lubienski, C. (2007). Review of "The ABC's of School Choice." Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/thinktank/review-abcs-school-choice