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Organization: U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon
Date: April 3, 2009
New Report Confirms Success of D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program
Republicans urge U.S. Secretary of Education to allow as many students as possible to benefit from innovative scholarship program
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), the top Republican on the U.S. House Education Committee, today welcomed the results of a new study from the U.S. Department of Education that confirmed the positive outcomes of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). The report found measurable achievement gains among students who participated in the program, as well as continued high levels of parental satisfaction, a hallmark of the OSP since its creation in 2004. The OSP provides scholarships of up to $7,500 to allow low-income children in the nation's capital to escape their struggling school system and attend safer, higher performing private schools.
    "The U.S. Department of Education has confirmed what we've been saying all along — when parents are given a choice, and children are able to attend safer, higher performing schools, achievement and satisfaction will rise," said McKeon.
    Just yesterday, a group of key Republican congressional leaders sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urging him to offer scholarships to as many students as funding will allow for the upcoming school year. Secretary Duncan has publicly stated that it would be a mistake to take kids out of schools where they are happy, safe, and satisfied, a position consistent with Republican efforts to maintain the program and extend it to additional children trapped in underperforming schools.
    Today's report, from the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, found that students who received scholarships had higher reading achievement than those who did not receive scholarships. Specifically, participation in the program was equal to three additional months of learning. Moreover, parents of children receiving scholarships had higher overall satisfaction with the school environment and school safety.
    "With concrete evidence in hand that this program is a success, we look forward to reauthorizing it as quickly as possible," said McKeon.
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