Parental Choice + Competition = Better Schools

A new study of academic performance in Ohio finds that traditional public schools facing competition from charter schools experience greater gains in student learning.  In summarizing the findings, the author notes:

The results of this article suggest Ohio traditional public schools have responded positively in academic achievement to the threat of charter schools locating near them. Even after considering the sanctions of No Child Left Behind, the positive estimates yielded close to a tenth of a standard deviation in improvement. In the broader sense, this article indicates that schools, similarly to people and businesses, respond to incentives and consequences.

This trend is clear when looking across the globe as well.  Andrew Coulson notes that international comparisons show that countries where students are given more choice do better—even though they spend less per student than American schools.

In fact, according to the latest PISA international test results, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Canada all significantly outperform the United States in every subject tested. They also all spend less than the United States per pupil, and make use of choice and market incentives such as competition between schools, to varying degrees.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have an opportunity to give parents more control over their children’s education.  As Jay Ostrich notes in his latest commentary, pending charter school reform legislation would make it easier for charter schools to operate without seeking approval from their competitors and may include a “parent trigger” to empower parents to take control over a public school.

Click here to take action now to empower parents!