At least, that’s what researchers from North Carolina State found every time they looked at them. “The Opportunity Scholarship Program is one of three private school choice initiatives in North Carolina,” Dr. Terry Stoops writes. “During the 2017-18 school year, more than 7,300 students from economically disadvantaged families received an Opportunity Scholarship of up to $4,200 a year to attend the participating private school of their choice.”
“To meet the increasing demand for scholarships, the state spent nearly $27.9 million on the program this year, a fivefold increase from its first operational year in 2014-15.” How disadvantaged were they? “Researchers discovered the median income of new voucher recipients was $16,213,” Dr. Stoops writes.
He also notes that, in their second report, NC State researchers found that “Participating parents were extremely satisfied with their choice of school. Around 94 percent assigned their chosen private school a grade of A or B, while roughly two-thirds awarded their child’s former public school a C or lower. Seven of 10 parents were pleased with school safety and academic quality of their chosen private school. Ninety-four percent of parents said that educational quality was a ‘very important’ consideration, while less than one-third said that extracurricular activities were essential.”
Small wonder. In their latest report, NC State researchers found that “Opportunity Scholarship students outperformed their public school counterparts in the first year and demonstrated even larger gains in year two.”