Students using vouchers to attend private schools have no academic edge over their public school peers, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.

“There’s a substantial amount of evidence about what does and doesn’t work to enhance student achievement,” said Ralph Martire, the executive director of CTBA, a Chicago-based think tank. “Indiana’s approach runs contrary to what those best practices indicate you should do.”

Indiana’s school choice legislation is the most comprehensive in the nation, Martire said. It includes a voucher program, tax deductions and tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools, according to the report.

The report is a meta-analysis that looks at the results from studies of voucher programs in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., as well as federal research on the effectiveness of charter and private schools. None of the studies that the authors analyzed found any evidence that students who received vouchers outperformed students who went to public schools, the report said.

Because Indiana’s voucher program was enacted in 2011, Martire said there has not been enough time to study its impact on the state’s students directly.

Eric Davis, executive director of Lafayette Catholic School Corp., said the report fails to take into account overall improvements in Indiana schools since the implementation of school choice policies.

ISTEP scores in all schools have gone up. The number of A schools has gone up. F schools has decreased,” Davis said. “AP participation rates and pass rates have continued to grow.”

Enrollment in the Indiana voucher program — Choice Scholarship Program — has grown from 3,911 in 2011 to 29,148 this year, according to Department of Education data. That includes a growing number of students from Greater Lafayette school districts. This year, 15 students from West Lafayette Community School Corp., 222 students from Tippecanoe School Corp. and 388 students from Lafayette School Corp. received vouchers to attend private schools.

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