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Christopher Lubienski, (217) 333-4382,
Dan Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Fordham's Ohio school voucher report flawed

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 6, 2014) – A recent report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute examines the impact of school vouchers on five private schools in Ohio. The report highlights perceived challenges facing private schools brought on by the introduction of vouchers and calls for policymakers to strengthen Ohio's voucher programs. However, an academic review out today finds the report unsuitable for policy consideration.
The report, Pluck & Tenacity: How Five Private Schools in Ohio Have Adapted to Vouchers, written by Ellen Belcher, praises the private schools profiled and cautions against state accountability programs that may "trample" on private schools' ability to provide a unique learning experience. Dr. Christopher Lubienski of the University of Illinois, along with doctoral student T. Jameson Brewer, reviewed the report for the Think Twice think tank review project. The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) published the review with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Overall, the reviewers found the report to be a case-study in how to engage in a slanted selection and interpretation of research evidence. The reviewers note that the report is supported by a total of three endnote references "cherry-picked" to support a contested policy agenda.

"Thus, the report is grounded in a twice-skewed and intellectually dishonest view of the research on vouchers and their academic outcomes."

The original report sought to examine how private schools changed as a result of enrolling voucher students, but little attention was given to research on the academic effects of vouchers.

"Policymakers should be aware that this report is not supported by empirical findings, and is a good example of how ‘cherry-picked' evidence is used to support or reinforce the agendas of various advocacy organizations"

Find this Think Twice Review on the Great Lakes Center website:

Find Pluck & Tenacity on the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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