Strikingly, the report’s authors found that the parents aren’t just happy; they’re involved in their children’s education, and increasingly so the longer they are in the program, despite challenges related to time and transportation.
They also are demanding consumers. Parents visited an average of three schools before selecting one; the small minority who were disappointed with their first choice visited even more as they weighed the possibility of moving their children. They were primarily looking, the report found, for “smaller class size, a more rigorous curriculum and school safety.”
A study will be out soon comparing the achievement of scholarship students in the first year of private school to those who applied but didn’t get a voucher.
The program is open only to low-income families, who average $21,100 a year for a family of four. The report found parents’ greatest fear is getting a raise and earning too much for their children to continue in their new schools.
Four students apply for each $7,500 scholarship. A lottery decides who gets an alternative to the district’s dysfunctional school system.
Hiatt points out the vouchers passed with only four Democratic votes and must be reauthorized by a Democratic-controlled Congress.