It has been an ugly two ­­­weeks. The Boston bombing horror cost my son’s triathlon coach a broken leg, broken ankle and a severed Achilles tendon. The coach’s sister suffered even worse injuries to her legs and feet resulting in an amputation of one leg at the knee because they waited near the finish line for their teammates to finish the race. ­­­

It is personal income tax season, with lines of cars a mile long at each of the Columbus post offices open until midnight on April 15 to render unto the federal Caesar and the lesser forms of government our due.

The Cyprus solution has intelligent people wondering if even their bank deposits are safe anymore from the latter-day sheriffs of Nottingham who feed their treasuries without regard to inalienable truths about national economies.

According to all the pollsters, the debate on sequestration has exacerbated even the normal dark impulses Americans indulge around this date.

Yet through the smoke and travail, light shines ever more brightly in one corner of life in 21st Century America.  One thing proved to have a beneficial impact on our approach to the future is a better-educated public and the results are in from many studies about what we can do to accomplish this.  Provide choice.  Allow parents to send their children to the schools they believe will best prepare them for life and work in the complicated years to come.

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released an examination of the research studies done over the last several years from several institutions, including Harvard University, the Federal Reserve Bank, Stanford University, Cornell University and the University of Arkansas.  Eleven of the 12 empirical studies concluded that voucher programs provide the participant children with better educational outcomes.  The other study was inconclusive.

None of the research shows that school choice harms public schools, and 22 of the 23 studies indicate that the competition improved public schools in the impacted area.  All six of the studies to ascertain fiscal impacts show that taxpayers saved money in the affected areas.

Most important of all in some ways, the Friedman report discloses that five of seven empirical studies concluded that students’ appreciation and commitment to democratic principles was strengthened. No research unearthed a diminution of diversity or civic values.  The best hope of coping with adversity of any kind is knowledge.

­­The report is entitled “A Win-Win Solution:  The Empirical Evidence on School Choice,” and is available here, or through the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

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