February 24 2010
ED's "What Works" Division Validates Voucher Program the "Fund Whatever Works" Obama Administration Killed
Vicki E. Alger, Ph.D
The U.S. Department of Education issued today validated its earlier findings that the D.C.'s voucher program works. In a press statement D.C. Parents for School Choice say:
"An Obama administration release today confirms that research proving the academic effectiveness of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program-the very program that the Obama administration is intent on killing-is scientifically sound. Tellingly, today's release comes from a branch of the U.S. Department of Education called the ‘What Works Clearinghouse,' and-not surprisingly-the review validated existing research demonstrating that the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is, in fact, working!"
The U.S. Department of Education's latest evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) found that "students who were offered vouchers to attend private schools scored higher on reading tests compared to students who were not offered vouchers. These gains were equal to three months of additional learning. Moreover, of the 11 studies to come out of DOE's Institute for Education Sciences, the OSP is one of only three programs to show positive results, and showed by far the biggest achievement gains."
"In addition to the IES evaluation, four consecutive studies from Georgetown University and the University of Arkansas have shown overwhelming parental satisfaction with the OSP and that low-income parents have become astute educational consumers. The most recent polling shows 75 percent of District residents support the program, and it is supported by locally elected leaders, including D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
"It is sadly ironic that in a nation that funds hundreds, if not thousands, of ineffective or unaccountable federal programs, President Obama is eliminating a federal education program that has proven to work exceptionally well for children, parents, and taxpayers. It is even more ludicrous that the President who promised to ‘fund what works' in education is killing a program that the ‘what works' division of his own Department of Education validates as a success. This is not the change America wanted, and the Obama administration's education policies offer no hope whatsoever for low-income children who live mere blocks from the White House."
This endorsement comes on the heels of last's week's defense of the program by Notre Dame leaders, who wrote a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) stating that allowing the demise of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, "to effectively force more than 1,700 poor children from what is probably the only good school they've ever attended, strikes us as an unconscionable affront to the ideal of equal opportunity for all."