Do School Choice Scholarships Negatively Affect Diversity?

There is much debate about educational choice, not only in Ohio but all across the country.  One consistent argument made by those who oppose school choice is that Ohio’s scholarship programs have resulted in lack of diversity or the “haves” or “have nots” in education.  That is a claim that needs to be closely examined.  Is Ohio regressing to a time in history where diversity fails to exist within certain school options? 

Most Ohioans believe that our students are best served by learning within an environment that is similar to the world that they will graduate into.  How do we help our students build understanding and ultimately relationships by existing and learning in a vacuum where everyone looks the same?

Ohio’s scholarship programs were developed to give parents and their students a choice in education that was previously unavailable to them.  Ohio’s first scholarship programs were specifically designed to help students who had no choice but to attend underperforming schools based on their address.  If left without a solution, Ohio students would continue to experience a form of segregation based on where they live and their family’s finances. 

The first scholarship program, the Cleveland Scholarship was established in 1995 specifically to provide school options for students assigned to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District which was a troubled district in the state.  The EdChoice Scholarship program was established in 2005 to extend the same opportunity to students beyond the Cleveland area who were also assigned to underperforming schools in their area.  The EdChoice Expansion Scholarship was launched in 2013 to extend the same opportunity to Ohio students whose household income falls at or below a specified percentage of FPL – Federal Poverty (income) Level. 

These programs addressed the educational choice limitations based on a family’s residence and/or finances.  If proven effective, positive outcomes resulting from these programs should also include a change in diversity throughout educational options in Ohio.

Have Ohio’s School Choice initiatives increased diversity in private education? 

The only way to answer that question is to review the results and numbers with regard to enrollment diversity. 

Source: Ohio Department of Education & Workforce Reports Portal (ohio.gov)

What are the student statistics across all of Ohio’s educational options? 

Enrollment numbers show diversity statistics that are consistent across all of Ohio’s educational options.

Source: Ohio Department of Education & Workforce Reports Portal (ohio.gov) Reports Portal (ohio.gov)

Do you have questions about Ohio’s educational options?  We’re here to help!  Visit www.scohio.org for more information.

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