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The Misleading and Dishonest Arguments of Education Choice Opponents: Educational Attainment

TCCRI's recently published paper, Outstanding Opportunities: The Case for Education Choice in the Lone Star State, contains several sections that either debunk arguments made by choice opponents or highlight how choice opponents misrepresent information. Below is an excerpt from the Report to that effect.


Educational Attainment by Choice Program Participants

Seven empirical studies have examined the effect that choice programs have on a student’s likelihood to graduate high school, enroll in college, or attain a college degree. Five of those studies found positive effects on educational attainment for participants and two found no effect at all. No study showed negative effects. Here is the breakdown of each study and their observed outcome(s).

How Choice Opponents Misrepresent This Data

Given that most of the studies on this question are positive, showing good effects on educational attainment among participants, and no studies have negative effects, how might an anti-choice advocacy groups misrepresent the data on this question? You guessed it. They would pick one of the studies that showed no visible effect and pretend as though the beneficial studies do not exist. We do not have to look far for an example from Raise Your Hand Texas:

Note that the highlighted portion of the quote hyperlinks to one study by Cheng and Peterson, which Ed Choice also identifies in the table included above. But that table recognizes that the Cheng and Peterson study did show positive impacts for some students, and they recognize other studies that have positive impacts for all students. If Raise Your Hand Texas was not so quick to cherry-pick the data, they would have used one of the two studies that had no positive impact for anyone. But even those studies, when taken together with the entire body of available literature show a range of neutral-to-postiive outcomes, which is a great range for any public policy change to fall in.

You can read this entire section and the full paper here.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Note that citations have been omitted from this post but are present in the full report linked above.

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