Lots happening with the only federally funded private school voucher program. Today a House appropriations subcommittee will vote on the Washington, D.C. appropriations bill that could include an increase to $18 million for the city’s private school voucher program. That program, created as a 5-year pilot program, is set to expire in September and reauthorization of it is unlikely. However, President Bush wants to increase funding for it, while the city’s lone Congressional Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton opposes continuing it. See her column from today’s Washington Post.
Meantime, the latest research on the program, despite the U.S. Department of Education’s attempt to spin it otherwise, again finds no overall differences in academic achievement between students using vouchers and their public school peers in Washington. The full 174-page report can be found here.
As NSBA told Education Week, “The key finding is that there are no statistically significant differences overall in academic achievement between the two groups of students. This is the second straight year in a row with those findings. The alleged rationale for the program was improved student achievement. The voucher program, like others before it, has come up short.”
Despite proponents’ spin, the report’s executive summary does not bury the lead. It’s right there in the first point of the executive summary: “After 2 years, there was no statistically significant difference in test scores in general between students who were offered an OSP scholarship and students who were not offered a scholarship. Overall, those in the treatment and control groups were performing at comparable levels in mathematics and reading.”
Washington Post coverage is here.