Report: Ohio EdChoice program’s impact on school district enrollments, finances, academics

Editor’s note: This report from Stephane Lavertu and John J. Gregg, with a foreword from Aaron Churchill and Chad L. Aldis, debuted on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s website.

School options have increased in Ohio and across the nation in recent decades. One prominent option is publicly funded scholarships that families can use to send their children to participating private schools.

Today, more than 75,000 Ohio students participate in one of the state’s five voucher programs, the largest of which are known as EdChoice. Despite their growing popularity, critics have argued that expanding voucher programs harms traditional school districts. But are they right?

This report explores the impacts of Ohio’s EdChoice program on school district enrollments, finances, and educational outcomes. The study includes detailed analyses of the state’s “performance-based” EdChoice program that, as of 2021–22 provides vouchers to approximately 35,000 students as well as its “income-based” EdChoice program which serves approximately 20,000 low-income students.

Among the findings:

  • District enrollments were approximately 10-15% lower than they would have been had districts not been exposed to the program.
  • Racial and ethnic segregation was approximately 10-15% lower than it would have been had districts not been exposed to the program.
  • Total district spending per pupil (including both capital outlays and operational spending) was no different than it would have been had districts not been exposed to the EdChoice program.
  • The academic achievement of district students as measured by the state’s performance index was significantly higher than it would have been had districts not been exposed to the EdChoice program.

You can read the full report here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *