Jay Greene researches education myths, namely,
The money myth
The teacher pay myth
The myth of insurmountable problems
The class size myth
The certification myth:
The rich-school myth
The myth of ineffective school vouchers
Greene finds that
One of the strongest and most consistent findings in the entire body of research on teacher quality is that teaching certificates and master’s degrees in education are irrelevant to classroom performance.
I agree with that 100%; the two best teachers I had in school were a mathematician and a historian. Their understanding of the material and their enthusiasm for their subject made all the difference. Neither teacher had been to ed school, and to the best of my knowledge, never did.
Greene found that school choice improves all schools (emphasis added):
Another reform that can help overcome the educational challenges caused by social problems is school choice. Few question that vouchers help the students who use them to leave failing public schools for a private school. This positive impact for voucher participants has been found in five “random assignment” studies. Less understood, however, is the positive effect that school choice has on students who remain in the public schools as well. When school choice programs, such as vouchers and charter schools, are adopted, urban public schools that once had a captive clientele must improve the education they provide or else students, and the funding they represent, will go elsewhere.
High quality research shows consistently that vouchers have positive effects for students who receive them. The only place where results are mixed is in regard to the magnitude of vouchers’ benefits.
. . .
In a study I performed of a voucher program in Florida, I found that when chronically failing public schools faced competition from vouchers, they made very impressive gains compared to the performance of all other schools. Similarly low-performing schools whose students were not eligible for the vouchers did not make similar gains. Many other researchers have found that school choice programs increase the performance of public schools. In fact, despite the frequent claims of teachers unions, I am not aware of a single study that has found that a school choice program harmed the academic performance of a public school system.
. . . . . .
The privately funded voucher programs spend less than half what public schools spend per pupil. Better performances, happier parents, for about half the cost: if similar results were produced for a method of fighting cancer, academics and reporters would be elated.
Update, Saturday, June 24 Mamacita guest posts at Sigmund Carl and Alfred, and says “Our schools will not improve by having money thrown at them. Money just pays for the latest round of theories and the paperwork..”