Alexander Says DC School Choice Off to a Good Start

New Study Shows Parents of Voucher Students Pleased

Posted on June 21, 2007

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander today said a U.S. Department of Education study released today on the DC Opportunity Scholarship Fund gives reason for optimism and is consistent with other findings on school choice efforts in their first year. “It is important to have this baseline for evaluation and to know that parents are happier with the scholarship program, but it is also important not to expect children to have different learning outcomes in just seven months,” said Alexander, a former U.S. Secretary of Education, about the study. This is the third study about the program, but the first to examine student achievement. The study examined the first seven months of student participation in his or her new school by comparing achievement of students who opted to use vouchers with a control group of students who did not receive vouchers. The study revealed no significant difference in student achievement in either math or reading, but parent satisfaction showed significant improvement with parents of voucher children in private schools reporting greater satisfaction. Alexander said the study gives reason to be optimistic that future reports will show improvement in student achievement between students with vouchers and those in the control group. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program was created by Congress in 2003. The program supports 1,400 low-income students with voucher scholarships of up to $7,500 to pay tuition at the private school of the choice. This is the third report of the rigorous, independent evaluation of the study, and the first report examining student achievement. To see report go to: http://ies.ed.gov/. # # #