Doocy misrepresents report on voucher program to attack teachers' unionJuly 14, 2010 12:10 PM EDT ››› ERIC SCHROECK
Doocy claims report found students in voucher program "performed better academically," attacks teachers union
Doocy: Students in D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarship Program "performed better academically than students in the public schools." On the July 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Doocy claimed that "[a] new government education report shows that students enrolled in the five-year Opportunity Scholarship Program down in Washington, D.C., had a higher graduation rate and performed better academically than students in the public schools. But despite the success, Congress has defunded -- killed -- that voucher program." Doocy later claimed during a discussion with Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson that Congress' defunding of the program "shows that the teachers' union has a stranglehold on the Democratic Party."
In fact, DOE's "Final Report" on program found "no conclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall"
Department of Education report: "[N]o conclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall." Doocy is presumably referring to a "Final Report" on the OSP -- released by the Department of Education in June -- that compared the academic achievements of students who received scholarships through the OSP and students who applied for the program but were not awarded scholarships. Doocy is correct that the report stated that, according to parental reports, students enrolled in OSP graduated at higher rates than the students who applied for but where not awarded scholarships. However, contrary to Doocy's claim that the OSP students "performed better academically," the report actually "found no conclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall." The report also stated: "On average, after at least 4 years, students who were offered scholarships had reading and math test scores that were statistically similar to those who were not offered scholarships." Further, the report found that "[a]lthough some other subgroups of students (female and higher achieving students) appeared to have higher levels of reading achievement if they were offered a scholarship, those findings could be due to chance." The report also included a chart noting, "Average test scores show no significant difference for OSP students after at least 4 years":
Study: "[S]tudents themselves rated school satisfaction and safety the same whether they received a voucher or not." From the report's summary:
Overall, low-income students who were awarded vouchers to attend private schools through the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) were performing at similar levels in reading and math 4 to 5 years later as students who also applied to the OSP, but were not awarded scholarships. However, students awarded vouchers (and old enough to have graduated from high school) graduated at significantly higher rates than did their counterparts, according to parent reports. The OSP also had a positive impact on parents' satisfaction with their child's school and their perceptions of the school's safety, but students themselves rated school satisfaction and safety the same whether they received a voucher or not.