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  • D.C. Families Need More School Choice Options

    Under No Child Left Behind, thousands of public school students in the District are eligible to transfer out of their low-performing public school system into a better public school. But the Washington Post reports today that only 34 students have currently applied for a transfer. The story highlights both the limits of the NCLB public school choice option and the need for greater school choice options for D.C. families.

    Giving families the right to transfer their children out of low-performing public schools was one of the promising provisions of No Child Left Behind. But after nearly six years, evidence suggests that nationally less than one percent of all eligible students have benefited from public school choice under NCLB.

    One reasons for the low participation rate nationally (and in D.C) is poor or late notification. The Department of Education reported that a survey of parents in 8 school districts found that only 27 percent of eligible students had been notified about the public school transfer option.

    Another likely reason is the lack of space in high performing public schools. As the Washington Post reported about the lack of options in DC:

    The nearly 5,000 children in the District’s 11 floundering middle and junior high schools have just two choices under the No Child Left Behind option: Deal and Hardy. For the nearly 20,000 children at the 48 elementary schools under some kind of federal sanction, there are 11 alternatives.

    One way to improve school choice options for at-risk kids would be to expand the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program and give more children the opportunity to attend a private school of their parents’ choice. Last year, approximately 1,900 low-income students in the District will attend private schools using opportunity scholarships.The Washington Scholarship Fund reported that 83 percent of the participating students would have attended public schools that missed “adequate yearly progress” under NCLB if the program did not exist.

    As the Post’s story today shows, many more kids could benefit. Evidence of this is the high demand for private school scholarships. Approximately 7,200 students have applied for tuition scholarships through the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program since it began in 2004—about four applications for each scholarship.

    It’s clear that many more families would benefit from the opportunity to send their children to private school. District leaders and Members of Congress should implement policies to give all District families the opportunity to choose good schools for their children. We presented options for how policymakers could expand school choice in a recent Backgrounder report.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to D.C. Families Need More School Choice Options

    1. mark , Houston says:

      Isn't it funny that the only "troubled" schools are in the "inner city".When a school in the suburbs fails to meet state or local expectations we hear "well those students are not applying themselves"and"It's the responsibility of the parents to get involved with their children"while if an inner city school meets the same low grade then it's a social-econmic problem . I send my kids to a private school ; I pay out the wazoo for it as well . this opprotunity wasn't given to me by the government I earned it , as did my parents. You see , my parents did not wait on father government to "give" them a way out , they took it upon themselves.That way of life , or beliefe system if you will ,trickles down to the children.so does a lack of a beliefe system or a lack of an incentive . Let's stop punishing the schools and start holding non-attentive mom's and dad's responsible.

    2. Pingback: no child left behind

    3. PAF says:

      In 1995, I walked suburban Washington, D.C.streets for a week. Unbelievable as I am a white female. I spoke to teens who couldn't read. I read signs. One stating the desire to have highways prevented from being built over the heads of residents. Another plywood sign told the danger of an inoperatable fire hydrants several years in duration. Teens were living in old cars. Waterlogged library books littered the railways.

      The debate over the school vouchers was the news broadcast in those days.

      A vision of how so many people settled on the foot-stoop of Washington, D.C was clear. The Civil War started the flow, and descendants today still ask for help.

      However, the self inflicted state-of-the-Nation is ill. Corruption by power has all but crushed the US Constitution's restraints out of existance. Liberty for the individual and Natural Family is on its death bed. The word "Democracy" is replacing the "…Republic for which it stands". Oposition in majority oppinion (political Law) is defacing human goodness and morality. Government fails to excercise anything but force and control.

      I would like to see a different neighborhood than I did in those days. Nevertheless, Government gets in the way and/or regulates true help out of existance.

      Self-evidence rings the truth of shattered Liberty as I watch my own family slip from self sufficiency into broader poverty. What a mess!

      Creating more debt to fund the fat-cat Elite will not help the people in suburban Washington, D.C., but I would return in a heart beat to share with the people I met there, how a free, social and economic, people could prosper– IF Government would only get out of the road!

    4. Pingback: Teach like it’s 1979 « Designated Conservative

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