Do Vouchers Hurt Integration? Maybe Not…

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The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit that Louisiana vouchers were hindering integration efforts in Louisiana. A study suggests otherwise.

According to EducationNext, since 2012 the publicly-funded Lousiana Scholarship Program (LSP) has allowed thousands of low-income students across that state to leave low-performing public schools and go to local private schools.

Sound good?

Not to the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed suit, claiming that these migrations hinder—not quality of education, but school desegregation.

Yet, the results of EducationNext’s study challenge this accusation.

“In the school districts under federal desegregation orders, which are the focus of the Department of Justice litigation, LSP transfers improve integration in both the sending schools and the private schools that participating students attend (receiving schools). These findings should help mitigate fears that school choice is harming desegregation efforts in Louisiana.”

In general, the study found an improvement in integration in many of the public schools that lost students, meaning they better reflected the racial make-up of their local communities than before. Private schools receiving transferred students showed an insignificant improvement, except for those in school districts directly under desegregation orders, which showed some net improvement in integration.

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