In his column, Jeb Bush gives a rousing defense of opportunity scholarships, citing particular their positive effect in Florida (where they were in place 1999-2006):
[R]esearch by Harvard and Cornell universities concluded that Florida’s choice programs...improved the quality of education in public schools. Fearing the loss of students, public schools developed innovative ways to help students succeed, such as offering Saturday morning tutorials and after-school intervention.
There is irrefutable evidence our education reform formula is responsible for Florida’s rising student achievement. Nearly a quarter of a million more children are reading at or above grade level today than a decade ago. Florida is scoring above the national average in reading and math. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Education recently recognized Florida as one of five states to close the achievement gap for minority students.