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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Cream skimming?

Sunday's story in the St. Petersburg Times about corporate tax-credit vouchers mentioned the study that's underway to determine how well voucher kids do academically. But while we wait for the results, the recently released baseline report offers this noteworthy nugget:

Selfportrait_4Despite the fears of some voucher critics, the CTC program does not appear to be "cream skimming" higher-performing students out of public school. At least not yet.

Looking at 2006-2007 norm-referenced test scores for students in the CTC program versus the same subgroups in public schools, University of Florida researcher David Figlio (soon to be a Northwestern researcher, shown on the left) found that on average, voucher kids scored considerably lower. "It does not appear that there is 'cream skimming' into voucher schools," Figlio told The Gradebook via e-mail. "In fact, if anything the opposite may be true."

Figlio, who the Department of Education selected to do the study, said he will study this question in more detail as he analyzes test score gains of voucher versus non-voucher kids. (Putting together the baseline report was step one in the process.) He expects to have results by early 2009.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:42am]


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