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Excellence in Education Strategy Session: The Results Are In: The Empirical Evidence Choice in Education Works

• Dave Myslinski

The body of evidence that school choice is working has been expanding at an increasing rate over recent years.

Researchers from MIT, Harvard, and the University of California, Davis comprised a panel at the Excellence in Education National Summit this afternoon that shared findings showing choice in education raises academic attainment and increases college attendance in at-risk population.

While school choice programs have grown in enrollment and have sustained in time, we now have historic data that shows progression of students in choice programs, such as charter schools, tax credit programs, and vouchers, and how their educational performance compare to that of their peers.

As any parent knows, each child has their own learning style. Students progress at different rates, respond differently to various teaching methods, and have unique interests. Requiring every school to be responsive to the multiple needs of every student is an exercise in futility. By utilizing school choice, students can receive an education designed to reflect their needs and are able to attend schools that can be specialized to teach to their individual learning style.

Evidence now shows the benefits of school choice is highly related to socio-economic status. At-risk students gain more from educational choice than from their middle-income peers. And the more “at risk” the student is, the more he or she benefits from school choice.

As Paul Peterson from Harvard explained, there is a strong link between school choice and college acceptance. Provided with a voucher, certain groups of students are two times more likely to be accepted into a selective college.

Research is a crucial part of education policy. Not only does high-quality research, such as that discussed in today’s strategy session, verify if existing programs work, it allows policymakers to innovate with new educational programs, and replicate the positive aspects while adjusting those with lackluster results.

It’s clear that school choice works, and as the proof becomes more solid, every effort must be made to ensure every child has the opportunity to have the best education possible.

About the author

Dave Myslinski

Dave Myslinski serves as a Communications Specialist for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and was the State Policy Director for Digital Learning Now, focusing on digital education policies across all 50 states. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as the Education Task Force Director at the American Legislative Exchange Council, where he focused on digital learning, K-12 education reform, and higher education policies on the state level. He is a coauthor of the Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform for ALEC, and currently serves on its Education Task Force Executive Committee and is a Vice-Chair of the Digital Learning Subcommittee. Dave has previously worked on state policies relating to health care and telecommunications. He is a graduate of Rutgers University. Contact Dave at