Michael Q. McShane

Dr. Michael Q. McShane is a former high school teacher. He earned a Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Arkansas, an M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. in English from St. Louis University.

The Next 200 Years: Studying the Long-Term Effects of Catholic-to-Charter “Conversion”

In 2014, Andrew Kelly and I wrote Sector Switchers: Why Catholic Schools Convert to Charters and What Happens Next, an examination of 18 formerly Catholic schools that had “converted” (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) into charter schools. With the recent news that the much-vaunted Jubilee Catholic schools in Memphis were looking to pursue the Catholic-to-charter […]

What You Actually Need to Know About the Two New School Choice Attainment Studies

School choice research has increasingly focused on educational attainment—that is, measuring the impact on high school and college graduation, higher education enrollment, employment status and income rather than standardized test scores. Two new high-quality studies released recently continue this trend. In this post, we’ll break down those studies, highlight the results and contextualize them within […]

The Next 200 Years: A New EdChoice Series

Almost any article on Catholic schooling today will have at least one paragraph in it describing the last five decades’ decline in both the number of Catholic schools and the number of students attending them. At this point, the factors are well known: fewer priests and religious staff working in schools, Catholics becoming wealthier and […]

What is Empirical Evidence?

What is empirical evidence?

Empirical evidence is information that researchers generate to help uncover answers to questions that can have significant implications for our society. Take seatbelts. Prior to their invention, people were killed or maimed in what today we would think of as minor traffic accidents. So smart engineers put their heads together to try to do something […]

School Vouchers Gone Wild? The Truth About Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarships

Based on recent media coverage, you might get the impression that the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program operates in some kind of Mad Max free-for-all, where families are routinely exploited by ne’er-do-well school operators. An editorial in the Orlando Sentinel decried “your tax dollars” being “whisked away” to private schools and called for an […]

Could School Choice Be a Solution for Segregation in Private Schools?

In September, Matt Di Carlo and Kinga Wysienska-Di Carlo published an interesting research brief for the Albert Shanker Institute, wherein they used data from the Common Core of Data and the Private School Universe Survey (both administered by the US Department of Education) to track levels of segregation in public, private and charter schools in […]

What Recourse Families of Students with Special Needs Have When Their Schools Fail Them: Public vs. Private

Special Needs: Private vs. Public Schools

Students with special needs are a vulnerable population. Often, they lack the ability to effectively advocate for themselves within the classroom or school house. Diagnoses can be complicated and contradictory—incredible strengths in one area can be tempered by profound deficiencies in others. No two children with special needs are alike. This is perhaps why both […]

The Chicken and the Egg of Educational Choice

Tell me if you’ve heard this chestnut before: “We can’t let parents choose their child’s school because they don’t have enough information to make a good choice.” Lord knows I have. Like many old adages that have a kernel of truth suffocating under a pile of manure, this statement does have some merit. Insofar as […]