D.C. vouchers

More than 1,000 Washington, D.C. students are using $7,500 vouchers to attend private schools. Most are in parochial elementary schools. About 20 percent of students awarded vouchers are not using them, reports the Washington Post.

After a lengthy application process, 1,359 low-income students were notified in June that they had won grants of as much as $7,500 a year to pay for private school tuition and fees, contingent on their acceptance by a participating school. Since then, the families of 290 students have dropped out or not responded to efforts by program administrators to reach them.

The remaining students include 1,013 who have been placed in private schools and 56 who are still being matched with schools. Of the 1,013 students placed, more than half are attending schools run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, which had the first day of classes yesterday.

. . . Schools that charge more than $7,500 a year in tuition are making up the difference through private grants.

Elementary students were able to find private school slots; demand exceeds supply for middle and high school students.

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  1. Perhaps the NYT can run an article about how this voucher program has yet to raise the test scores of the kids participating in it. And then tomorrow they can have an editorial denouncing the program as a waste of money…

  2. superdestroyer says:

    This is the argument that I have made about vouchers. Getting into the christian elementary school down the street is one thing, barriers for creating new ones are low, the demands are not as great. Whereas creating additional seats in private high schools is much more difficult, especially in a city where the demand for private high school positions exceeds supply before the vouchers. I also wonder how many of the parents failed to understand the long lead times for getting into most private high schools.

  3. mike from oregon says:

    SD –
    I guess some of this would depend upon where you live. Here in Oregon, we have a limited number of private high schools, the majority of them Catholic. However, I haven’t seen anyone here turned away due to too many students. I do know that they will turn someone away because of bad grades in grade school. I do know that they require the children to take and pass an entrance exam to get in.

    Both my daughters went to Catholic grade schools and I consistantly saw public school children coming into Catholic schools needing tutoring to get up to speed. Those who went from Catholic schools to public spent left then half the amount of time that they use to on homework and pulled A’s and B’s without sweat.

    Even if the children can’t get into a private high school, the parents should take advantage of sending them to private grade schools. Grade schools are where they (the kids) get their base. If they don’t have a good, strong, sound base, it won’t make much difference where they go to high school, they will fail.

    The REAL bad news around here is we DON’T have vouchers. I only wish, as do many parents.

  4. superdestroyer says:


    The nearest catholic high school to Northest DC is Gonzaga High school. I could not find out the average SAT score since the catholic high schools don’t have to publish theirs unlike the local public high schools. However, to get into Gonzaga you have to apply a year in advanced and it does have a waiting list.

    On the other hand, the local science and technology high school has a median SAT score fo 1489 this year. I doubt if any of the local catholics did as well.

  5. mike from oregon says:

    SD –

    Should be easy for you then, send your kid to the science and tech school. I would prefer that my kids get religion in their education, however, I would prefer that the money I pay in taxes for education allowed me the option of using that money for the type of education that I would prefer for my child. In short, I would love vouchers.

    Around here, the catholic schools typically trump the public schools in every and any thing that you care to name. Each area is, evidently, different and your situation (your racism aside) is different than mine.

  6. The barriers for new private schools are much greater then public scholls. New public schools are built by referendum, they rarely fail. For private schools the funding is voluntary. For the first time in a long time a new Catholic grade school is being built in D.C. For all concerned about education of children in the large sense, this is good news.