AFC 41 Days of School Choice Day 4: Washington D.C. OSP Increases Graduation Rates
Washington, D.C. (August 7, 2014) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, continues 41 Days of School Choice campaign highlighting educational choice programs around the country. Day four of the campaign makes a stop in the nation’s capital with an in-depth look at the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). This program has received national recognition as it continues to produce graduates at a higher rate than the area’s traditional public schools.
According to data compiled by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (Trust) from 2010 to 2012, the average OSP graduation rate is 93 percent, 90 percent of whom enroll in college. D.C. OSP graduation rates are nearly 30 percent higher than the traditional public school graduation rates.
“The OSP had a transformational effect on my child and helped her become the valedictorian of her graduating class,” said Sheila Jackson, D.C. parent and advocate. “I just want to see more families in Washington, D.C. have the same opportunity as we did. This program works and should be fully funded.”
Founded in 2004, the D.C. OSP has served over 6,000 students and Congress must appropriate annual funding. The scholarship program is designed to help children in low-income families attend the school of their parents’ choice. The average family income of program participants is less than $21,000 per year and 98 percent of scholarship recipients are zoned for a D.C. public school in need of improvement.
“Children in low-income D.C. families should not have to remain trapped in schools that do not work for them when other viable options exist right now. It’s a matter of social justice that no child should be forced to stay in a school that does not meet their needs simply because of their family’s income,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel for the Federation. “The OSP addresses this issue and the program enjoys bipartisan support in Congress because members believe that low-income families in D.C. should have the same educational choice that their higher income peers take for granted. This is an issue where Democrats and Republicans can and should come together because it’s the right thing to do for these kids.”
- Intended for students from low-income families
- Priority is given to students who attend schools deemed in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
- Federally mandated program evaluation to determine student academic progress
Throughout the 41 Days of School Choice campaign, the American Federation for Children will be promoting programs using the hashtag “#41Days”.
The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.