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Education Professors Misrepresent School Choice Yet Again

September 12, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

They say some people never learn. Just two months ago, education professors Christopher Lubienski and Joel Malin published a piece in The Conversation completely misrepresenting the scientific evidence on school vouchers. Although University of Arkansas Professor Patrick J. Wolf and I individually corrected their erroneous claims, they are back at it again. And the misrepresentation and cherry-picking are just as shocking. Let’s set the record straight.

In their most recent piece, Lubienski and Malin claimed “seven of the nine [school choice studies since 2015] found that voucher students saw relative learning losses,” while none showed gains. What nine studies were they talking about? They didn’t specify in the piece. They have not clarified publicly on social media either. At first, I could not come up with a list of school voucher studies since 2015 that came out to “seven out of nine” negative and met any reasonable definition of “rigorous.”



But then it hit me. Lubienski and Malin triple counted the D.C. evaluation and quadruple counted the Louisiana evaluation. They also included non-experimental studies from Ohio and Indiana. That got them to “seven” negative (two years of the D.C. evaluation, three years of the Louisiana evaluation, the full Ohio evaluation, and the full Indiana evaluation) and two with no effects (the most recent year of the D.C. evaluation and the third year of the Louisiana evaluation). I’ve seen confirmation from Lubienski, the lead author, that this was their count strategy, and it’s the only possible way to get to their supposed “7 out of 9 negative rigorous studies since 2015.” It’s clearly misleading to count results from one set of students more than once, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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