NCPE Opposes The DC Voucher Program



DC Vouchers Do Not WorK

  • According to reports issued by the Department of Education in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010: The D.C. voucher program has proven ineffective and has had no impact on student safety, satisfaction, motivation, or engagement.
  • The Department of Education also found that use of a voucher had no statistically significant impact on overall student achievement in math or reading.  

DC Vouchers Harm Students

  • Studies show that students in the voucher program are actually less likely to get the educational resources than students not in the voucher program and are significantly less likely to go to a school with ESL programs, learning support and special needs programs, tutors, counselors, cafeterias, and nurse’s offices than students not in the program.   

DC Vouchers Strip Students of Civil Rights Protections

  • Private schools participating in the D.C. voucher program are not subject to the federal civil rights laws and public accountability standards that all public schools must meet, including those in Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 
  • Students who attend private schools with vouchers are stripped of their First Amendment, Due Process, and other constitutional and statutory rights provided to them in public schools.

DC Vouchers Do Not Help the Neediest Kids

  • Not a single study has found that students from “schools in need of improvement,” which are the students targeted by the program, have shown improvement in reading or math due to the voucher program.
  • Since 2003, almost $190 million has been spent on D.C. voucher schools. That is money that could have been spent on District public schools – schools that serve all students.

DC Vouchers Are Not Accountable to Taxpayers

  • At one point, the voucher program’s administrator admitted that “quality oversight of the program [w]as sort of a dead zone, a blind spot.” 
  • According to U.S. Government Accountability Office reports from both 2007 and 2013, the D.C. voucher program has repeatedly failed to meet basic and even statutorily required accountability standards:  It did not provide adequate information about voucher schools to prospective parents and students and did not make that information available until after many voucher schools’ deadlines for admission had passed. It also failed to maintain its own financial records, did not enforce statutory requirements such as requiring each school to maintain valid certificates of occupancy, and did not have a protocol for ensuring compliance from participating schools.
  • A special investigation by The Washington Post corroborated findings that private schools in the program lacked important quality controls: these schools were sometimes operated in old worn-down facilities without proper amenities such as gymnasiums or restrooms.