NEPC Review: 12 Myths and Realities about Private Educational Choice Programs (Institute for Justice, August 2017)
For over a quarter-century, researchers and others have vigorously investigated and debated the impact of school vouchers and voucher-like programs (such as education savings accounts and tuition tax credits/deductions). The result is a developed and sophisticated research literature on different aspects of these programs. But a report from the Institute for Justice does not take advantage of this body of research, instead offering little more than a simplistic and one-sided treatment of the empirical record. Setting out 12 “myths” about vouchers, the report then proceeds to systematically dismiss each “myth” in turn by presenting only evidence—much of it highly questionable—on the advantages of vouchers. Based largely on previous reports from other advocacy groups that curated evidence in order to present vouchers in a most positive light, the report then repeats many of those claims, even when flaws in those reports have already been publicly explained. In doing so, the report makes claims that are not supported, and in fact sometimes contradicted, by evidence in the sources it cites. The report provides a textbook case of echo-chamber advocacy, drawing primarily on reports from other voucher advocates. Consequently, it offers nothing useful in furthering our understanding of school vouchers.