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New Report: More School Choice Yields Higher NAEP Scores

report released today by the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas found that states with more school choice are likely to see higher student performance on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP). According to the report more school choice is “significantly associated” with higher student achievement levels.
The report analyzed the effect of private school choice programs, public district programs, charter schools, and homeschooling and found a “strong and statistically significant” association between education freedom and academic scores, as well as academic gains over time.
Statement from Tommy Schultz, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the American Federation for Children:
“This report won’t surprise those who understand the importance and power of school choice. This is more fodder for lawmakers to take action in their states to expand educational options, whether through private school choice programs, charter schools, homeschooling, or through open enrollment policies. More choices benefits all students.”

  • The researchers used data from 2017 and 2018 to construct an index that captures the overall level of school choice in each state
  • The Education Freedom Index 2021 (EFI-21), modeled after a similar index in 2000, measures the extent to which a state has widespread and accessible private school choice, public charter schools, homeschooling, and public-school choice
  • Arizona ranks first in education freedom, followed by Indiana (2), Minnesota (3), Wisconsin (4), Iowa (5), Louisiana (6), Florida (7), Ohio (8), Idaho (9), and Michigan (10)
  • There are many different education policies that make it easier for parents to select their child’s school, including keeping school districts geographically small, avoiding caps on the number of public charter schools, regulating homeschooling lightly, and enacting private school choice programs
  • The states with more of these and similar school choice policies demonstrate higher achievement scores and gains
  • The positive association between education freedom and student achievement appears to be robust
  • The researchers used an alternative measure of education freedom that excluded some low-value private school choice programs and the results only became stronger
  • The researchers examined the correlation between the EFI and NAEP gains just for low-income students and found a stronger association than for all students
  • Read the full report here:


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