Researchers: McKay vouchers working
Prolific and sometimes controversial education researchers Jay Greene and Marcus Winters have a new report out on Florida vouchers, and this one concludes the McKay program for disabled students is having a positive, academic effect on the vast majority of disabled students who remain in public schools.
In an April 29 op-ed in the Washington Times, the pair say they're not sure why that is: "It could be that public schools saw that their disabled students were leaving for private alternatives in search of a better education and responded to the challenge by improving their efforts. On the other hand, if special education students are as much of a financial burden for public schools as some argue, then as students leave public schools may be better able to utilize their resources to help the students who remain."
And then again, they say, maybe we shouldn't sweat the why's: "From a policy perspective, the reason for the effect doesn't matter. What we know from our study is that rather than harming public schools, vouchers improve the education that they provide to their disabled students."
To read about a previous Greene and Winters voucher report – and the response it got – see this St. Petersburg Times story.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter