New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

July 28, 2009

Residents of the District of Columbia overwhelmingly support the federally funded DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, according to the results of a poll released today. Nearly 75% of registered voters support the program, which provides scholarships for students of low-income families to attend a quality school of their choice. Among parents of school-age children, that support increases even higher to 82%.

“This poll shows what we have known all along. The residents of the District of Columbia want something more for their children. They want to give their children the best education possible, giving them hope for the future and a lifeline out of poverty,” said Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington.

Education – not the economy – is the top priority of DC residents, according to the poll. The poll also revealed that if provided with a choice, 70% of District parents would rather send their children to private or public charter schools. In addition, the majority of those polled support expanding the Opportunity Scholarship Program to meet demand from all applicants. Nearly 70% oppose ending the program.

“Without the Opportunity Scholarship Program, 86% of OSP students last year would have been sent to failing schools. We need to help as many children learn and succeed as possible. Every child counts and they are our future,” said Weitzel-O’Neill.

District support of the program also is strong among the majority of DC City Council members, who recently wrote a letter to District Mayor Adrian Fenty and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan calling for the release of scholarship monies for families whose scholarships had been rescinded earlier in the year when the program was closed to new recipients.

Despite the support of both DC residents and the City Council, Congress has voted to end the program and prevent new students from getting scholarships.

The poll, conducted by Braun Research, Inc., surveyed 1,001 registered voters earlier this month.

Of the more than 1,700 students who received Opportunity Scholarships this past year, 879 attended Catholic schools in the District. Visit for more information.

Kathy Dempsey
Office of Communications
[email protected]