The 123s of School Choice: 2023 Edition

On the heels of the most transformative legislative sessions for educational freedom, many policymakers, parents, members of the media, and concerned citizens may be asking themselves: What will be the impact of these new school choice programs?

Fortunately for inquiring minds, there’s a wealth of research on the topic—nearly 190 empirical studies on how private educational choice programs affect eight different outcomes for students, families, and communities. Unfortunately, such a large body of research would seem an overwhelming challenge to consume, summarize, and make digestible. To help readers better understand how choice programs affect students, the education system, and society, EdChoice has published a new edition of The 123s of School Choice; it aims to help meet this challenge by providing a review of the available research on voucher, education savings accounts, and tax-credit scholarship programs in the United States.

The 123s of School Choice compiles research on the following outcomes:

Program Participant Test Scores
Program Participant Attainment
Parent Satisfaction
Public School Students’ Test Scores
Civic Values and Practices
Racial/Ethnic Integration
Fiscal Effects
School Safety

We recognize that parents care about more than just test scores. They have diverse preferences for their children’s schools and education. Although the outcomes covered in The 123s of School Choice just scratch the surface of what parents want, they do focus attention on non-test score outcomes.

We’ve added a new section devoted to school safety outcomes. These studies examine the effect of educational choice on school climate and safety- related issues such as student bullying, physical conflict, gang activities, drug-related problems, discipline issues, and safety practices. As parents tend to rank school safety among the top of the list of factors they deem important for their children’s education, this outcome warrants inclusion.

This report isn’t the only synthesis of research. Researchers have published papers over the years appraising and synthesizing the broad body of research evidence by conducting their own systematic reviews. As such, this edition of the The 123s of School Choice also includes a section that summarizes these other research reviews.

With that, we present to you the research about private school choice programs in America. And as always, please drop us a line if you have any questions or suggestions about how we can improve this product.