ON-Lion Letter
A mid-June U.S. Department of Education (USDE) evaluation of the federally funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) indicates that parents of scholarship students are overwhelmingly satisfied with their experiences in the program and with the private schools they chose for their children to attend.  The USDE study compares the satisfaction and academic achievement of families and students awarded scholarships through the program to that of those who applied for scholarships, but did not receive them.

In the OSP in 2006-07, more than 1,800 low-income D.C. students were enrolled in 58 participating private, including religious, schools.  The students received scholarships of up to $7,500 for tuition, transportation, and some other fees at the schools.

According to a USDE report on the study, using a scholarship significantly increased parental satisfaction with their child's school in every measured area.  Seventy-four percent of scholarship parents gave their children's schools an "A" or "B" grade. 

Preliminary academic-achievement data reveal no statistically significant positive or negative changes yet, though there are indications that some OSP students are improving in math. 

At the time of application to the program, the average applicant's household had almost three children supported by an annual income of $17,536, nearly $21,000 less than the income limit for a family of four.  The average student entering the program had SAT-9 reading scores in the 33rd percentile and math scores in the 31st percentile.

The research team was led by a prime contractor, Westat, with help from two subcontractors.  One of the subcontractors, Patrick J. Wolf, is a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas and the principal investigator of the national School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP).  SCDP is also conducting a major, thorough evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP).  With many others, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports this MPCP evaluation. 

Bradley supports the Washington Scholarship Fund (WSF), as well.  WSF helps administer the OSP.
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