Study Finds Black Students Who Used School Vouchers Are More Likely to Attend College

 A new report from the Brookings Institution finds that school vouchers have a significant impact on the college enrollment rates of African Americans. The study tracked elementary school students who were offered tuition vouchers for private schools from the New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation. Overall, the study found that students who were part of the voucher program did not go on to enroll in college at a greater rate than students as whole. But the results showed that African American students who went to private or parochial schools under the voucher program were 24 percent more likely to enroll in college. And Black students who benefited from vouchers were twice as likely as other students to enroll in highly selective colleges and universities.

The report was authored by Matthew M. Chingos, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution and Paul E. Peterson, the Henry lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University. You can download the complete report here.

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  1. There should be nothing surprising about the finding that African American students who went to a private school under the voucher program were 24 percent more likely to enroll in college. The report is worded as if the voucher program were the determining factor for college enrollment. The fact is that the overall benefits of attendance at a private school are the cause. School vouchers have the impact because they are entre’ to the private schools that are better equipped to provide a quality education than are many of the public schools. Many public schools, particularly those in urban areas with high concentrations of African American students, poorer quality facilities, and fewer teachers prepared to earnestly work with minority populations do not have the facilities to prepare and motivate students for college as can the more favorably endowed private schools.

    If this is a ploy for pushing for vouchers, let us not lose sight of the fact that long standing racism is the reason for the need for vouchers. The playing field can not be levelled by giving vouchers to students who would have done just as well without vouchers. All they needed was an opportunity for a decent education.

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