School-Voucher Rules Trip Up Student Success in Louisiana

A National Bureau of Economic Research study used “random assignment,” considered the most rigorous research method available, to show that students choosing to attend a private school using a scholarship from the Louisiana Scholarship Program have lower achievement levels compared with their peers in Louisiana public schools. Yet it is the first random-assignment study to do so. More than a dozen other studies from around the country using the same method have found positive impacts on student achievement, lasting even into college in some places.

Several factors probably contributed to the subpar performance of students in the LSP, but we should note how the policies governing the program are uniquely strict. For years, policymakers in Washington, D.C., and Louisiana have besieged the LSP with a litany of rules and regulations that threaten the scholarships’ very existence.

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