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Knowledge From the Field

Closing the Achievement Gap: Creating Quality Choices: Vouchers

Published: January 2008

Publisher(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

Author(s): Read, Tory

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

View Report (8 pages; 768KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Low-performing Schools

Abstract: The report outlines Casey's investment in the District of Columbia's voucher program, as well as results, lessons learned, and suggestions for improving related legislation. Includes profiles of Casey-supported efforts to improve programs in Florida and Wisconsin.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ Voucher recipient parents are far more likely to give their childís school a better rating than are parents of students who didnít receive vouchers.

+ Parents increased their capacity to evaluate their childrenís education options.

+ Parents increased their involvement in their childrenís education.

+ Parents report improved communication with their children.

+ Children demonstrated improved work ethic, attitude toward learning, and self-esteem.

= Students and parents switching from public to private or parochial school experience culture shock and need ongoing support to overcome it.

= Funding the vouchers and the evaluation is not enough; programs need significant resources to fund ongoing support for families and schools.

= Including high schools in voucher programs requires additional thought; overall supply, remediation needs of students, and gaps between voucher amounts and actual tuition costs pose significant obstacles.

= To provide effective support, use a variety of approaches so that diverse families and children get the help they need to succeed at new schools.

- After seven months in the program, voucher students did no worse nor better than students who did not receive vouchers.

Geographic Focus : Florida, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C.

Subjects/Keywords : Low-performing schools; vouchers; low-income household; achievement gap

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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