Virtual Charter Students Have Worse Labor Market Outcomes as Young Adults
Paul Yoo

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Irvine

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
This featured study in his dissertation examines the long-term outcomes of virtual charter school students using novel administrative data that combines statewide education records in Oregon to IRS records on young adult earnings. Despite increasing virtual charter school enrollments, stakeholders have raised serious concerns about their quality as researchers have documented their much larger teacher-student ratios, heavier reliance on parental participation, and significant challenges of student engagement. Indeed, a small but growing literature suggests that virtual charter school students have substantially worse short-term academic achievement. Using first-differencing strategies and a machine-learning based doubly robust propensity score approach, his dissertation adds to this literature by examining virtual charter school students? educational attainment and labor market outcomes in young adulthood. Preliminary findings show that virtual charter students have substantially worse high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, bachelor?s degree attainment, employment rates, and earnings than students in traditional public schools. Although there is growing demand for virtual charter schools, these results suggest that students who enroll in virtual charters may face negative consequences in the long term.
About Paul Yoo
Paul Youngmin Yoo is a PhD candidate in Education at the University of California, Irvine. He studies how schools shape opportunities and what can be done about childhood poverty. He is interested in interventions and policies that support children in their homes, schools, and neighborhood. Partnering with a state department of education and large school districts, he is investigating the long-term prospects of students attending virtual charter schools which are fast expanding; effects of a district enrollment policy designed to reduce segregation and neighborhood disparities in school access; consequences of sorting of students into different academic tracks and categories on their perception and performance; and within-schools dynamics between creating and distributing academic opportunity, broadly measured. He is a significant contributor to an innovative childhood poverty reduction experiment in the U.S. and is leading his study on how cash-assistance for new mothers under the poverty line intersect with the geography of opportunities for upward mobility. Prior to his doctoral program, Paul began his research training at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Ed.M.) then worked at the RAND Corporation as a policy analyst evaluating education policies and programs. Before pursing research, he taught in classrooms and designed curriculum in Korea; and he developed and implemented a small reading program for under-resourced schools and youth workers. Paul?s perspectives on education policy research are shaped by his experience, as well as the many researchers, practitioners, families, and students that have inspired him.

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