Washington Examiner | DeAngelis, Flanders: Believe it or not, markets work in education

Cato Institute’s Corey DeAngelis and WILL’s Research Director, Will Flanders, write in the Washington Examiner how their research shows that the marketplace in education does, indeed, work:

Before jumping to the conclusion that government ought to intervene, it is critical to understand how parents are making education decisions. We know that school choice is popular and tends to grow in communities where education options are available. But we wanted to dive deeper.

Our study evaluated whether families in Milwaukee vote with their feet based on objective metrics of school quality: mathematics performance and safety. In addition, we look at whether these factors, and changes in enrollment, lead to school closure in Milwaukee’s public and private education sectors.

The results revealed that enrollment growth and decline among Milwaukee’s private schools participating in the voucher program was related to academic performance. Moreover, private schools with lower achievement — and lower enrollment levels — are more likely to close than higher-performing schools even after controlling for differences in student background.

The same cannot be said for district public schools. Our results found that enrollment growth or decline in district schools is not associated with academic achievement or safety. Only school size is predictive of public school closure.

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