Arkansas research shows school voucher program affects racial stratification

The results show that 82 percent of student transfers through the voucher system decreased racial stratification in public schools.
The results show that 82 percent of student transfers through the voucher system decreased racial stratification in public schools. | File photo
A University of Arkansas research team found that a Louisiana school voucher program has affected racial stratification in the state's public and private schools.

The study, which was published online in the Education and Urban Society journal this past month, says there was a federal lawsuit filed against Louisiana because the voucher program had allegedly harmed efforts to desegregate schools in the area.

"The results show that 82 percent of student transfers through the voucher system decreased racial stratification in public schools," Anna Egalite, the study's lead author, said. "At the same time, 55 percent of transfers increased racial stratification in private schools."

The university’s Department of Education Reform collected data for this study as a part of an evaluation for a Louisiana Scholarship Program to analyze the effects of voucher programs.

A district court ruled that the state voucher program would continue as long as state authorities provided demographic information on those who had vouchers, but that requirement was overturned in a later court ruling.

Egalite worked with fellow former Arkansas student Jon Mills and Professor Patrick Wolf. 

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