D.C. Vouchers Worthy of Good Marks

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Regarding the Oct. 11 front-page article "Voucher Program Puts D.C. Kids at Risk, Study Says":

Along with our D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program families, I was offended by the article's misleading headline, which implied that children were in danger. To the contrary, the Opportunity Scholarship program has afforded real educational opportunities to thousands of low-income District students.

The story was irresponsible. It used a leaked Government Accountability Office draft report -- still subject to comment by the Washington Scholarship Fund and the U.S. Education Department -- as its source. Most of the GAO's recommendations already have been implemented by the Washington Scholarship Fund, and the remaining ones will be addressed by the fund along with the Education Department and the District government.

Further, the article misleadingly portrayed the Opportunity Scholarship program as one that "Republicans favor." In fact, the program was championed by local Democrats led by former mayor Anthony A. Williams.

Finally, the story failed to even hint at students' life-transforming successes through the program. The independent 2007 Georgetown University study cited in the article reported that Opportunity Scholarship students are more engaged in their schoolwork and have increased self-esteem. The Georgetown findings also show that their parents are more involved with their children and their schools.

Next time, please consult our families to understand the impact of the Opportunity Scholarship program.

-- Joseph E. Robert Jr.


The writer is chairman of the board of the Washington Scholarship Fund.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company