To be sure, the report shows that, after seven months in their new schools, children taking advantage of the vouchers didn’t perform significantly better on tests than did those in a control group (voucher lottery losers). These results are in line with other studies that show little effect in the first year of a voucher program.
But the report notes that parents are significantly more satisfied with the new schools their childrent are attending, which I guess doesn’t matter to Democratic critics. With respect to education, the Democrats are going to have to decide whether they’re the party of the unions or the party of the parents. So far, they’ve sided with the unions.
One last point: perhaps one additional reason that differences are small is that the populations being compared are of students whose parents sought vouchers. What both groups have in common is parental concern and involvement. (Indeed, some children who didn’t receive vouchers ended up in private schools anyway.) To the degree that parental involvement affects results (and how can it not?), wouldn’t it be likely that the differences between the two groups would be less than between students whose parents were so concerned that they sought opportunities for their children and a random sample of public school students, whose parents may or may not be actively involved in their education?