Monday, April 15, 2013

Sec. Duncan Ignores Facts, Claims D.C. OSP Gains Similar to those Seen in Traditional D.C. Public Schools

As we reported last week, President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget includes no new funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, preventing many low-income students from accessing the successful program.

At a House Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on April 11th on the president’s budget, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed the administration’s vision for educating America’s students. When asked about the administration’s decision to not add additional funding for the D.C. OSP - a program as Maryland Representative Dr. Andy Harris (R) points out has made graduating from high school a reality for many students zoned for schools in need of improvement - Secretary Duncan said, “I’d be very surprised if those improvements were very dissimilar to what’s going on at the rest of D.C. public schools.”

Umm… what?

According to last federal evaluation of the program in 2010, 91 percent of children who used their D.C. opportunity scholarships graduated from high school - 21 percent more than those who sought but did not receive a scholarship and 30 percent higher than D.C. public schools. Subsequent research by the program administrator for 2010 and 2011 showed that 94 percent of scholarship students graduated and 89 percent of those students enrolled in college.

The success rate of the D.C. OSP is a far cry from the reality for many D.C. public school students. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. ranked dead last in national graduation rates at 59 percent for the 2010-11 school year.

Additionally, D.C. is home to the largest disparity in the country between white and minority students who graduated during the 2010-2011 school year. Eighty-five percent of white students graduated, while only 55 percent of Latino and 58 percent of black students earned their diplomas.

While the D.C. OSP may not be the fix-all for every D.C. student, it is a viable option for many families looking for access to a high-quality education. The program has proven it can deliver real results. By funding the program at its full level, more D.C. families would be able to take advantage of the program, granting many more young people with access to an education that works best for their needs.

No comments:

Post a Comment