Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts After One Year

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School choice remains an important part of the national discussion on education reform strategies and their benefits. While a variety of policies encourage parents’ selection of schools for their children―for example, charter schools, magnet schools, and district open enrollment―scholarships that allow students to attend a private school have received the most attention. The U.S. Congress’ passage of the District of Columbia School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 in January 2004 provided a unique opportunity not only to implement a system of private school choice for low-income students in the District, but also to rigorously assess the effects of the Program on students, parents, and the existing school system. This report describes the first-year impacts of the Program on those who applied for and were given the option to move from a public school to a participating private school of their choice.


Study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education