The analysis indicates that the performance-based EdChoice program led to lower levels of segregation among minority students, no change (and perhaps an increase) in district expenditures per pupil, no change in districts’ ability to generate local revenue (leading to an increase in local revenue per pupil), and higher academic achievement among the remaining district students. The analysis of the income-based EdChoice expansion program was mostly inconclusive. What one can say, however, is that an analysis of publicly available data yields no credible evidence that the income-based EdChoice expansion had a negative impact on district revenues, segregation, or achievement. In future work, we hope to use student-level data to get more credible impact estimates of the income-based program, as well as estimates of the performance-based program’s long-term impact on student learning.
Between 2006 and 2019, EdChoice-eligible schools did indeed experience increases in racial and ethnic segregation, as well as declines in achievement (see Figure D1 in Appendix D). These trends had begun well before 2006, however, and this study provides compelling evidence that they should not be attributed to private school vouchers. In fact, the analysis indicates that district segregation and achievement would have been worse in the absence of the performance-based EdChoice program.
The Ohio EdChoice Program’s impact on school district enrollments, finances, and academics (w/ J.J. Gregg), A report prepared for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, December 2022