Poll shows families support DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

Acton Academy of Washington, D.C., is a Montessori preschool and student-centered elementary and middle school and one of 72 private schools serving close to 15,000 students in the District of Columbia.

Sixty-six percent of voters support reauthorization of one of the founding programs of the school choice movement according to a new poll released by a Maryland-based custom research firm.

Beck Research reports that when respondents were asked Feb. 23-27 via wireless or landline phones or text-to-web, “Based on what you know, would you say that you favor or oppose the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program,” only 22% said they opposed the program, while 12% were undecided.

When asked the broader question, “Generally speaking, would you favor or oppose school vouchers that allow lower-income families to send their child to any school they deem best?” 65% of respondents said they supported vouchers and 31% said they were opposed.

Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children, said the organization was not surprised at the poll results.

“Despite what detractors may suggest, there is strong bipartisan support for school choice and the Opportunity Scholarship Program in D.C. and Congress should listen and support this program with increased funding to meet demand and a permanent authorization,” Schultz said.

The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, launched with bipartisan support in 2003, allows lower-income families to receive funding for their children to attend a participating District of Columbia private school. The only federally funded voucher program in the country, the program was enacted by Congress as part of a three-sector approach to improve educational outcomes in the District of Columbia.

According to the DC Opportunity Scholarship-Serving Our Children website, which provides information about the scholarship, nearly 40,000 District of Columbia children have applied for the Opportunity Scholarship since 2004-05 and more than 10,000 students have been awarded.

Currently, 95% of participating children are African American and Hispanic from families with an average annual income of less than $27,000.