With all of the discussions around school choice, charters, etc., I think it's helpful to bring up something we don't often consider: What's the goal of the policy/strategy? For example, I often hear that vouchers don't improve public education, or that state tests don't result in higher achievement levels. That could be true (or not), but it's also possible that the initiative was never meant to have an impact on achievement. First, an easier example: We don't just have arts programming because it improves academic achievement. We may try to sell those programs to funders or the community because they impact achievement, but we also (and probably mostly) value arts programming because of goals unrelated to academic achievement - perhaps because we simply value the arts. There is intrinsic value in the program - it aligns with our ideals or our values about how things should be done. Same can be said with social skills training - sure, it impacts student achievement, but we also believe in the mental health of students and creating a positive community. Those don't have to translate into academic achievement or state test results to be of importance. Moving on to vouchers, charters, school choice in general, etc. Some politicians will sell the voucher idea by explaining that one of its benefits is improved academic achievement. However, in reality we can't simply measure the "effectiveness" of vouchers by looking at achievement data. It's entirely possible that vouchers have another benefit, and therefore another way of measuring vouchers. So....my question for you all: What benefits could we see in school choice initiatives, and how would we know they were working aside from achievement data? As a side note, I think it's helpful to remember that we can debate both whether an initiative is effective with a particular goal as well as if the goal itself is worthwhile. For example, we could debate whether a school bathroom policy is effective at promoting gender neutrality, but we could also debate whether gender neutrality is something to be valued/sought after in public education.