Study: D.C. voucher program ‘Opportunity Scholarship Program’ shows economic benefit

5 Feb

The D.C. “Opportunity Scholarship Program” lives despite efforts to kill it:

Who We Are

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) provides scholarships to low-income families residing in the District of Columbia with expanded educational opportunities for their children.

The OSP was created with the belief that when it comes to choosing a great school for their children, parents should have the freedom to decide the best learning option. Specifically, the OSP is geared towards providing the District’s children access to a quality education.

The program began in 2004 as part of a city-wide effort to improve all of the District’s educational sectors – public, public charter and non-public – to expand quality educational experiences for District families. It is the first federally-funded program of its kind and is the product of a bi-partisan collaborative effort involving former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, D.C. City Council members, school leaders, the White House, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Read all about our beginnings and our program.

Our Program

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) awards need-based annual scholarships to eligible District children to attend a participating private D.C. elementary, middle, or high school of their parent’s choice.

For school year 2012-13, individual scholarship awards are up to $12,205 for high school and up to $8,136 for elementary and middle school. Opportunity scholarships may only be used at schools participating in the program and may be able to pay for tuition, school-related fees, and public transportation expenses (up to the annual maximum scholarship award).

Our team is with you at every step of the way – whether it is helping you complete your child’s scholarship application, understanding the requirements for the program, or assisting you to find a great school for your child – we are here to help! http://www.dcscholarships.org/

See, Much-Debated Scholarship Program for D.C. Students Is Renewed http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/much-debated-scholarship-program-for-d-c-students-is-renewed/

Patrick Wolf and Michael Q. McShane write in the National Review article, School Choice Pays Off, Literally:

The District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) produced $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent on it. In other words, the return on public investment for the private-school voucher program during its early years was 162 percent.

That is the major finding from a follow-up study we completed, based on the results of the official U.S. Department of Education evaluation of the program. Our study has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal Education Finance and Policy.

The OSP was the nation’s first federally funded private-school choice program. It was launched in 2004 as part of a three-sector strategy for urban education reform that also included increased funding for public charter-school facilities and added funds for educational improvements in District of Columbia public schools.

The District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) produced $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent on it. In other words, the return on public investment for the private-school voucher program during its early years was 162 percent.

That is the major finding from a follow-up study we completed, based on the results of the official U.S. Department of Education evaluation of the program. Our study has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal Education Finance and Policy.

The OSP was the nation’s first federally funded private-school choice program. It was launched in 2004 as part of a three-sector strategy for urban education reform that also included increased funding for public charter-school facilities and added funds for educational improvements in District of Columbia public schools. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/339457/school-choice-pays-literally-patrick-wolf

Citation:

Winter 2013, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 74-99

Posted Online January 17, 2013.

(doi:10.1162/EDFP_a_00083)

© 2013 Association for Education Finance and Policy

Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze? A Benefit/Cost Analysis of the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program

Patrick J. Wolf

(corresponding author) Department of Education Reform University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701 pwolf@uark.edu

Michael McShane

Research Fellow in Education Policy American Enterprise Institute Washington, DC 20036 michaelgmcshane@gmail.com

Full Text

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Abstract

School voucher programs have become a prominent aspect of the education policy landscape in the United States. The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program is the only federally funded voucher program in the United States. Since 2004 it has offered publicly funded private school vouchers to nearly four thousand students to attend any of seventy-three different private schools in Washington, DC. An official experimental evaluation of the program, sponsored by the federal government’s Institute of Education Sciences, found that the students who were awarded Opportunity Scholarships graduated from high school at a rate 12 percentage points higher than the students in the randomized control group. This article estimates the benefit/cost ratio of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, primarily by considering the increased graduation rate that it induced and the estimated positive economic returns to increased educational attainment. We find a benefit to cost ratio of 2.62, or $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent on the program.

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important. Moi does not have the dread of a well-defined voucher program targeted at at-risk children. A tax credit program is entirely a horse of a different color and should be discouraged.

Related:

University of Arkansas study finds Milwaukee voucher students go to college at higher rate                                                           https://drwilda.com/2012/03/05/university-of-arkansas-study-finds-milwaukee-voucher-students-go-to-college-at-higher-rate/

What is the Indiana voucher program?                                    https://drwilda.com/2012/08/26/what-is-the-indiana-voucher-program/

Are tax credits disguised vouchers?                                  https://drwilda.com/2012/06/17/are-tax-credits-disguised-vouchers/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

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