The researched case for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program
- Children are learning. 88% of the OSP students in the study demonstrated statistically significant achievement gains in reading (Wolf, Gutmann, Puma, Kisida, Rizzo, Eissa, & Silverberg, 2008, p. 37).
- Parents are satisfied. OSP parents are more highly satisfied with their children’s schools than parents whose children remained in DCPS schools (Wolf et al., p. 45).
- Parents feel safer. Parents believe their children’s new schools are significantly less dangerous. (Wolf et al., p. 41).
- OSP students enjoy improved school conditions. OSP students attend schools that are smaller, have smaller class sizes, and are better racially integrated than the schools (Wolf et al., p. 58).
- Parents are empowered. Parents report taking an active role in their children’s educational lives and they see the OSP as providing a means for their family to break the cycle of poverty (Stewart, Wolf, Cornman, McKenzie-Thompson, & Butcher, 2009).
- The OSP makes fiscal sense. The District of Columbia spends nearly $13,500 per student in DC Public Schools (US Census Bureau, 2008). The OSP is federally-funded and costs, on average, only $5,000 per child.
- Low-income Latinos are particularly satisfied with the program. They believe their children are more motivated, more focused, and working harder than they did in their previous schools (Stewart et al., 2009, p. 32).
- Parental choice improves public schools. Seventeen empirical studies have examined how vouchers affect academic achievement in public schools. Of these studies, 16 find that parental choice programs improved public schools and only one, the study of the DC OSP, finds no effect on public schools. No empirical studies have found that parental choice programs harm public schools (Forster, 2009; Hoxby, 1994).