A recent report revealed that the number of students using private school vouchers from the controversial Washington, D.C., voucher program dropped by almost 500 over a four-year span.
The report, released in August by FutureEd, an education think tank, found that 1,154 students used vouchers through the program, which is funded with federal tax dollars, in the 2016-17 school year, as opposed to the 1,638 students who had used them four years earlier. One-third of students who were awarded vouchers ended up not using them.
The report’s authors, Phyllis Jordan and Kendell Long, suggested that the results “call into question whether vouchers can meaningfully increase the number of high-quality classroom seats for disadvantaged students in a district with so many public sector options.”
Prior to this report, a U.S. Department of Education report in April showed that students taking part in the D.C. voucher program actually perform worse academically than students who are not in the program.
Yet, President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have continued advocating for voucher schemes like D.C.’s and others. In May, Congress extended the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program studies until 2019 as a part of the budget deal, despite studies that show negative results.