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Yet Another Study Shows School Choice Programs Reduce Crime

July 2, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Schools are expected to prepare children to become good
citizens. They can help achieve this goal by producing a
well-educated populace and promoting strong character. But not all
school systems equally contribute to the public good. Indeed, the
evidence shows school choice does more to cut crime than
residentially-assigned public schools. Here are the facts.

Yet another study just came out revealing the
crime-reducing benefits of school choice. Researchers found that
entering a charter school in North Carolina in 9th grade reduced
the rate at which students were convicted of felonies by 36% and
the rate at which they were convicted of misdemeanors as adults by
38%, compared to their peers in traditional public schools.

It’s about time we
rethink the notion that residentially assigned public schools
contribute most to the public good.

But this isn’t the first study to show that school choice
reduces crime. There are now six rigorous studies on the subject,
and all six studies find that school choice cuts
crime.

For example, a study by researchers at Harvard and Princeton
found that winning a lottery to attend a charter school in New York
City reduced the likelihood of incarceration for male students by
100%. That’s right. Winning a lottery to attend a charter school in
NYC all-but completely eliminated the chance of incarceration for
male students in the sample. But that’s not all — the study
also found that winning a charter school lottery reduced teen
pregnancy by 59% for female students.

Another study published in the Quarterly
Journal of Economics found that winning a lottery to
attend a public school of choice cut crime in half, a 50%
reduction, for high-risk male students in Charlotte, North
Carolina.

Two studies — conducted by Dr. Patrick J. Wolf and I — similarly found that
students using the Milwaukee voucher program to attend private
schools were significantly less likely to commit crimes than their
carefully matched peers in traditional public schools by the time
they reached 22 to 28 years of age. The 2016 version is forthcoming
at Social Science Quarterly.


But why does school choice reduce crime?

Traditional public schools hold significant monopoly power
because of residential assignment and funding through property
taxes. Families upset with the quality of their public school only
have three limited options: They can purchase an expensive new
house that is assigned to a better public school, pay for a private
school out of pocket while still paying for the public school
through property taxes, or complain to the school leaders and hope
things change.

Because these options are expensive …read more

Source: OP-EDS