The U.S. Department of Education’s released a report today presenting the finding of an academic evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. It found that, after three years, students who were offered vouchers to go to private school through the program had made statistically significant gains in reading achievement.
Specifically, the IES report found that “those offered a scholarship were performing at statistically higher levels in reading—equivalent to 3.1 months of additional learning.” Like previous evaluations, it also found that “the [Opportunity Scholarship Program] had a positive impact overall on parents’ reports of school satisfaction and safety…”
The report is accessible here.
As regular readers of The Foundry will recall, Congress inserted language in the recently-enacted Omnibus bill that placed the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program on tract to end after the next school year unless Congress (and the D.C. City Council) authorizes the program.
Key members of Congress, including California Senator Diane Feinstein, have said that the results of this academic evaluation should determine whether Congress renews the program.
In the wake of this report, Members of Congress and the Obama administration must now answer a simple question: do they really want to terminate a $14 million program that is improving the reading achievement of low-income, minority children in the nation’s capital?
Instead of ending this program, Congress and the administration should now be looking to expand it to let many more D.C. children have the opportunity to attend a safe and effective school of their parents’ choice.