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A Think Twice Review of:

Why Indiana Parents Choose: A Cross-sector Survey of Parents’ views in a Robust School Choice Environment

Think Twice - Nov 21, 2017

Publisher/Think Tank - EdChoice (Friedman Foundation)

Author(s) - Andrew D. Catt and Evan Rhinesmith

A recent report published by EdChoice attempted to examine parents’ experiences with school choice in Indiana through a survey. Hanover Research compiled the survey results with the report authored by staff at EdChoice, an advocacy organization that favors school choice. Based on the survey, the report claimed that parents were highly satisfied with voucher and tax credit scholarship programs. Moreover, the report suggested that the findings support the expansion of school choice programs.

Reviewer(s) - Jeanne M. Powers, Arizona State University

The reviewer writes that the findings from the report should be cautiously interpreted, because parent-satisfaction survey data almost always yield strongly positive findings. She also notes that a large sector of the population in Indiana do not participate in school choice. Jeanne M. Powers also finds that the report falls short in several ways, including: (1) The survey utilized three incompatible data collection methods; (2) The statistical analyses are too week to draw clear conclusions; (3) The report seems designed to advance an agenda rather than provide substantive answers to important policy questions; and (4) It provides little new information about parents’ experiences with their children’s schools. In her conclusion, Powers writes: “While organized using the format of a research study, the report’s failure to ground its analyses in the broader research literature, employ conventional sampling techniques, and provide relevant statistical details renders the report of little value for advancing educational policy and practice.”