School Choice

Cato opens full bore with not one, not two but three good posts on voucher systems in response to Obama’s debate answer and the “fact check” that vouchers don’t work.

The study found that students in the program did generally score higher. The reporters were confused by the fact that the findings for the whole group of students were not statistically significant at the prescribed cut-off. The researchers were only 91 percent certain (statistically) that the better performance of voucher-program students was due to the program rather than chance, and they had to be 95 percent certain. They did find statistically significant positive findings for some subgroups of students.

Compounding this error, the reporters then quote an education researcher saying, “We have no evidence that vouchers work.” This too is incorrect.

There have been ten analyses of random-assignment voucher program experiments (random-assignment being the gold-standard of testing treatment effects). All ten demonstrate positive voucher effects, 9 out of 10 find statistically significant effects for at least some subgroups, and 8 out of 10 find statistically significant effects for the whole voucher group.

And the parents involved are extremely happy with it and think their kids are safer. And the vouchers cost a third or less than what is spent in public schools. Oh, and these programs are all small and some highly regulated, which limits their effectiveness.

But if we use vouchers, we can’t hire more union members!


I’m really starting to dislike the Red Sox. They’re the Yankees reborn. Now that they’ve come back from 7-0 down, we’re going to have nothing but two days about clutchiness and character.

God, I hate the sports media. This has not been a good year for me, sports-wise.

Garage Sale

Sue and I are in the initial stage of moving to Pennsylvania. The first stage is the ritual shedding of possessions. It’s astonishing how much useless crap you can accrete. So after the initial run to Good Will and the filling of several garbage cans, we had a garage sale. This was the first one I’d participated in since the mid-80’s.

  • I hadn’t realized that the $5 bill was changed I use cards for everything and rarely work on a cash basis. Having people hand me unfamiliar bills was a bit jarring.
  • The two people you meet at garbage sales: the guy who touches everything and asks lots of questions and buys nothing; the guy who rolls up and, without a word, casually buys something you thought would never sell.
  • A tip: schedule your garage sale for the time when (a) one neighbor has been advertising one for several days; (b) your other neighbor has suddenly decided he needs to sell his furniture and puts it out in front of your garage, drawing buyers.
  • I’m one of the worst people when it comes to sentimentalizing inanimate objects. I constantly pick up, say, a cassette tape I haven’t listened to in 15 years and don’t want to throw it out because I listened to it during that wild night in Boston. I have to force myself to toss/sell things.
  • Having a cute baby around helps sell stuff. If you don’t have one, see about renting.
  • Debate Night Linkorama

  • A really cool look at the bridge that got rebuilt in Minneapolis.
  • The geniuses at Medicare have decided to stop paying for medical errors. Here’s why it’s a bad idea.
  • It turns out that cellulosic ethanol sucks almost as much as corn ethanol.
  • Libs are harping on Glass-Steagel as the origin of our problems. Bill Clinton says that’s garbage and he’s right.
  • A rundown of what went wrong in the mortgage meltdown. It wasn’t just the CRA, people.
  • The fiscal pictures gets even worse when you look at the states. What are we doing to our children?
  • That credit freeze? Eh, not so much.