Pacific Standard Cites Figlio’s Voucher Research

Pacific Standard Cites Figlio’s Voucher Research

David FiglioPrivate school vouchers have shown some modest positive effects, but the difference is not “Earth-shattering,” Northwestern University professor and economist David Figlio said in the recent Pacific Standard article, “What Can Florida Teach Us About School Choice?”

Figlio, a leading expert on school vouchers and their effects, has studied one of the nation’s largest and most expansive school voucher programs, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

A 2014 paper Figlio published with Cassandra Hart of the University of California-Davis found that increased access to private schools through the use of vouchers put more competitive pressure on public schools, leading to modest improvements in public student test scores.

Still, “there’s just no evidence” that a voucher program can revolutionize public schools,” Figlio told the Pacific Standard.

Figlio’s previous research documented which students left public schools for private schools under Florida's voucher program. Contrary to many fears, Figlio’s team found that vouchers attracted the lowest-performing students, rather than the highest fliers in a school.

Last month Figlio, the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and director of Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research, presented his research on school voucher programs in Ohio and Florida during a forum at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his Florida research, Figlio has evaluated Ohio’s Educational Choice Scholarship (EdChoice) Program, which provides students from underperforming public schools the chance to attend participating private schools.

Read "What Can Florida Can Teach Us About School Choice" by Elena Gooray.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/21/17