School choice and mental health

A new study in the journal “School Effectiveness and School Improvement” found that states with charter school laws saw a 10 percent decrease in suicide rates among 15 to 19 year-old students (“School Choice: Better Than Prozac,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 18).  There are far better reasons, however, to support parental choice.

I say that because the study confuses correlation with causation. Just because one thing follows another does not necessarily mean it was caused by the first.  The decrease in the suicide rate can be due to other factors beyond students being in a school that their parents chose for them.

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2 Replies to “School choice and mental health”

  1. Or — all those states that are implementing charters could just reinstate tracking in their low-SES inner-city neighborhood public schools. Pretty much the same result as charters, but without kids being driven all over the city + the academically talented children of unconcerned/dysfunctional parents get a shot at a non-chaotic school environment. Extra credit if the states, in addition to reinstating tracking, implement reforms that enable school administrators and teachers to maintain reasonable behavior standards in the neighborhood public schools.


  2. Labor Lawyer: All of our competitors abroad engage in tracking in one form or another. We can argue that they do so too soon, but the results are impressive. Unfortunately, differentiation in education is anathema here. Not surprising, therefore, that outcomes are disappointing.


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