Jeb Bush is pushing privatization in New Hampshire. In this latest move, all parents would receive a voucher to attend a school of choice–private or public. Bush argues that competition from vouchers make public schools better. He cites research in Florida conducted by David Figlio. Figlio himself says that the number of students he studied was small, and it makes sense that public schools were able to make modest gains because they had not lost that much revenue.
(In the long run, public schools had lost some low achieving students to private, small and mostly religious schools in early grades, half of whom in middle school, returned.)
Jeb Bush operates through his Foundation for Excellence in Education. It has long promoted privatization of schools nationwide. His claims that competition improves education are disputed by reputable researchers and by experience in other countries, like Chile, that have tried the approach. In Chile, universal vouchers had an impact, it drove wealthy families to private schools. Public school performance got ‘significantly worse’.
All in all, school choice studies produce a mixed bag of achievement results: some positive, some negative, and some with no impact at all, according to David Arsen, a professor at Michigan State University who has reviewed the research.
Politifact rates Jeb Bush’s claims for the advantages of privatizations as ‘Mostly False’.