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ERIC Number: ED508630
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 48
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Satisfied, Optimistic, Yet Concerned: Parent Voices on the Third Year of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. SCDP Report 0702
Stewart, Thomas; Wolf, Patrick J.; Cornman, Stephen Q.; McKenzie-Thompson, Kenann
School Choice Demonstration Project
On January 23, 2004, President Bush signed the DC School Choice Incentive Act into law. This landmark piece of legislation included $14 million in funding for what would come to be called the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). The OSP is the first federally funded K-12 scholarship program in the country and is designed to provide approximately 1,700 low-income DC children with tuition scholarships worth up to $7,500 to cover the costs of attending participating K-12 nonpublic schools in the District. The pilot program is authorized to operate for five years and is being implemented by a group of non-profit organizations headed by the Washington Scholarship Fund (WSF). In addition to extending educational choices to an economically disadvantaged group of DC families, the OSP also provides the opportunity to learn more about what happens when more families have the opportunity and responsibility to choose a private school for their children. The U.S. Department of Education, through the Institute for Education Sciences, has contracted for the conduct of a rigorous experimental evaluation of the impact of the Program on a number of student outcomes including student achievement. In this report, however, the authors provide information that represents a separate and independent qualitative assessment of how families are experiencing the Program. This report continues a series that started two years ago. During the third year round of focus group discussions, which were held during the spring of 2007, parents and students were offered an opportunity to reflect upon their previous responses and explain why their views persist or have changed. This report presents information about the experiences of families participating in the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) during its third year of operation. It seeks to augment statistical studies that focus on the impact of school choice by providing contextual detail that chronicles what participating families are experiencing as they take part in this first-ever federal school voucher program. Previously the authors reported on parent and student focus group responses regarding the initial implementation of the OSP. This study extends that analysis of the lived experiences of two different cohorts of families participating in the OSP: Cohort 1, which joined the program in 2004; and Cohort 2, which enrolled in 2005. Protocols for Third Year Focus Groups are appended. (Contains 16 tables and 55 footnotes.)
School Choice Demonstration Project. Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas, 201 Graduate Education Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701. Tel: 479-575-3172; Fax: 479-575-3196; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation
Authoring Institution: University of Arkansas, School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP)
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia