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First Annual Oxymoron Award

Jumbo shrimp. Military intelligence. Open secret. Classic oxymorons, but the Washington Post adds a new one: “Strong anecdotal evidence.” That’s the evidence that the Post cites in its Saturday editorial on the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. “Both sides need to put aside the overheated rhetoric that too often accompanies any mention of vouchers and focus instead on the facts,” the Post lectures us. skoolboy has enumerated those facts–which show that participants in the program using vouchers to attend private schools in DC do not score significantly higher on standardized tests of academic achievement than their peers–here, here and here.

The Post‘s idea of balance is to enumerate reasons to support the program, and to ignore the evidence from evaluations of the first and second years of the program that it has minimal effects on a range of student outcomes:

Nonetheless, critics are right to want to know whether vouchers are effective in improving the achievement of their poor, minority recipients and, as such, are a good use of federal tax dollars. There is strong anecdotal evidence from parents of students receiving scholarships that their children feel safer and more secure, are better motivated and work harder in their new schools.

“Strong anecdotal evidence.” Was this written by a guest host? A graduate student? An editorial writer taking the down escalator? skoolboy thinks the Post editorial is pretty ugly, and partially complete. But now I’m going to add some non-dairy creamer to my coffee, and return to my working vacation.

And not even think about a head butt.

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