The Rev. Senator James Meeks has proposed legislation that would create a school voucher program in Illinois. Parents whose children attend the lowest-performing public schools in Chicago would be given the opportunity to instead send their children to a private school, should they see fit. Similar pilot school voucher programs have been created throughout the country and have been thoroughly researched.
Studies using random assignment, the gold standard of social science, consistently find that students using vouchers have higher academic achievement than students who applied for vouchers but lost a random lottery. Listed below are all ten random assignment studies of school voucher programs: 6 find statistically significant gains when measuring the outcomes for all students; three others found significant gains with important subgroups of students, particularly African Americans. No study has found that any group of students has done worse as a result of using a school voucher.