Study Shows Gains for Opportunity Scholarship Students

April 03, 2009

Students participating in the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program are gaining academically, a study released today by the United States Department of Education showed.

According to Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, “The study confirmed what we already knew: not only are parents – who know their children best – satisfied with the Opportunity Scholarships, but the longer their children are in our schools, the more they grow academically. Of particular interest, this latest study showed significant growth in reading, which is the foundation of all learning. We encourage Congress to do the right thing by these children and reauthorize the Opportunity Scholarship Program. It truly is a lifeline for them.”

Despite the annual gains shown by students in the Opportunity Scholarship Progam, the initiative was ended by a vote in the United States Congress on March 10. The Archdiocese of Washington is committed to working with families in the city to urge reauthorization of this successful program. Nearly 880 of more than 1,700 students who have Opportunity Scholarships attend a Catholic elementary or secondary school in Washington, DC. Most of the students are non-Catholic. The average income of a scholarship family is just $24,000 and 86 percent of all Opportunity Scholarship students would be assigned to a public school that is in “corrective action” under the No Child Left Behind Act without this program.

The full report is online.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]