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Eric.ed.gov – Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Features of Schools in DC. NCEE Evaluation Brief. Third Report in a Series for the Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. NCEE 2016-4007

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The foundation of school choice is offering families a variety of schools and letting them choose one they believe is most suitable for their child. For school choice to matter, schools need to have different features that parents are seeking. The District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program was created by Congress to provide tuition vouchers to low-income parents who want their child to attend a private school. This brief provides a snapshot of features of traditional public schools, charter schools, and those private schools that participate in the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), in Washington, DC, in order to describe the landscape facing students and parents who are considering applying to the OSP. It first looks at the number of each type of school and enrollment changes in the last decade. It then uses responses from a survey of principals conducted in 2014 to describe schools on dimensions such as their academic climate, goals for teachers, instructional programs, school safety, and parent involvement. Key findings are: (1) Since 2004, the number of charter schools in DC and the number of students enrolled in them has grown substantially. The number of traditional public schools and private schools and their enrollments have declined; (2) Responses from principals indicate that, compared to public schools (traditional public and charters), private schools participating in the OSP: (a) Were more likely to report that student behavior, student motivation, parental support for learning, and instructional skills of teachers were excellent or very good; (b) Were less likely to suspend students, use metal detectors, and have on-site security personnel; (c) Taught reading and math for fewer minutes a week across grade levels; (d) Were less likely to have instructional programs for non-English speakers and students with learning disabilities; and (e) Had similar instructional emphases and levels of parent involvement; and (3) Generally, traditional public schools and charter schools showed few differences, but traditional public school principals were less satisfied with the amount of instructional time and more satisfied with teacher pay. The following are appended: (1) Technical Appendix; (2) Total School and Enrollment Data Underlying Figures 1 and 2; (3) Tables Using Weighted Data; and (4) Tables Using Unweighted Data. [For the second report in this series, “Applying to the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: How Do Parents Rate Their Children’s Current Schools at Time of Application and What Do They Want in New Schools? NCEE Evaluation Brief. NCEE 2016-4003,” see ED565616.]

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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