ON-Lion Letter
While "[t]here is a strong expectation or assumption that public schools will outperform private and charter schools in instilling civic values because they're government run," a comprehensive analysis of 21 recent quantitative studies on the topic "suggests that school choice programs are performing as well as traditional public schools or in many cases outperforming them," according to University of Arkansas professor Patrick J. Wolf, who headed the group of researchers conducting the analysis.

Specifically, a majority of the analysis's 59 findings indicate that the effects of private schooling or school choice on students' civic values is, if not neutral, then mostly positive.  Schools of choice tended to fare better than assigned public schools at steeping their students in seven civic values necessary for democratic citizenship:  political tolerance, voluntarism, political knowledge, political participation, social capital, civic skills, and patriotism.

"These results suggest that the expansion of school choice is more likely to enhance than diminish the civic values of our next generation of citizens," Wolf notes.

All of the findings will be featured in the forthcoming, Summer 2007 issue of Education Next
magazine.  The article, "Civics Exam," is also available online now.

Education Next is published, with substantial support from The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, by the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University in California.  Bradley has also supported some of Wolf's work at the University of Arkansas.
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