The District of Columbia has been a laboratory for school choice, where the federal government funds a voucher program to make private education affordable for impoverished students. A newly released study casts doubt on the effectiveness of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, The New York Times reports.
An analysis of the program released April 27 by the U.S. Department of Education’s research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences, found that it failed to improve student achievement after year one.
In fact, the students who used the vouchers performed worse than their public school peers on standardized tests, and some of the voucher students regressed academically.
The study examined the voucher program’s impact one year after distribution of scholarships through a lottery process from 2012 to 2014. In addition to negative achievement, the researchers also found that voucher recipient parents had a positive perception of school safety.
This report adds to a wave of recent research that suggests school vouchers can, counterintuitively, harm student achievement. It also comes as President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are cutting the overall education budget and redirecting funds to expand school choice.
SOURCE: New York Times