Behind the Headline: House Oversight Committee Reauthorizes D.C. Voucher Program

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House Oversight Committee Reauthorizes D.C. Voucher Program
Ed Week | 4/14/16

Behind the Headline
Lost Opportunities
Education Next | Fall 2009

The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday voted to reauthorize the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to low-income D.C. students.  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan praised the program at a press conference on Thursday.

Andrew Ujifusa of Ed Week notes that “The D.C. voucher program has been a reliably controversial K-12 issue in Washington for some time.”

The story of “How Vouchers Came to D.C.” was told by Spencer Hsu in the Fall 2004 issue of EdNext.

Matt Chingos and Meghan Gallagher describe the results of the most recent evaluation of the program

The final report from the initial evaluation, which was released in 2010, has something in it for both OSP supporters and opponents.

Supporters can credit the voucher program with improved reading scores and high school graduation rates: 82 percent of students offered a voucher graduated from high school, compared to 70 percent of those who lost the lottery. But critics can point to the lack of an impact on math scores, the failure of the reading impact to meet the government’s standard for statistical significance (it was significant at the 90 percent confidence level but not the 95 percent level), and the fact that high school graduation information was collected from a survey of parents rather than administrative records.

Patrick Wolf wrote wrote at greater length about the impact of the program on participating students for Education Next in 2009.

—Education Next

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