New Data Reveals Pervasive Challenges to Expanded Opportunity Education Voucher Advocates Promise

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2018

Contact: Donald Gatlin,, 202-587-2871

MEDIA ADVISORY – Monday, March 5, 2018 at 10:00am ET

Civil rights and education experts to discuss new research findings at Capitol Hill briefing

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, March 5 at 10am EST, experts from the Civil Rights Project and several other universities will host a briefing on Capitol Hill to present the findings of new research assessing the efficacy of education vouchers to equalize educational opportunity across the U.S.

Expanding vouchers has been a leading goal of the current Administration and a number of state governments and advocates have claimed that they would offer better opportunities to students of color. These studies systematically explore those claims.

There have been important efforts to expand school vouchers for several decades, and a variety of tax subsidies at the state and federal level. Experts will assess these policies and provide guidelines for policy development that protect the rights of low-income students and students of color. Presentations will examine national private school trends; the achievement outcomes and access for minority students under the Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the nation’s only federally-funded voucher program; outcomes for students of color under the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, one of the largest statewide voucher programs in the country, the factors that motivate private schools to participate; and the evolution of voucher case law, including academic quality and civil rights protections.

The studies show that the capacity has been limited, the focus has often not stayed on the most disadvantaged students, most of the opportunities have been in religious schools and that the academic results have been disappointing so far. The experts will suggest issues that must be considered to make the policies more effective and equitable.

The discussion will be moderated by Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. Tom Gentzel, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association will respond to the new research and discuss its implications for American education. Participants will be invited to pose questions to the authors.

WHAT: Civil rights and education experts reveal new data assessing the efficacy of school voucher programs.


  • Mark Berends, University of Notre Dame
  • Jongyeon Ee, University of California-Los Angeles
  • Tom Gentzel, National School Boards Association
  • Preston Green, University of Connecticut
  • Mary Levy, PhD, budget and policy analyst, DC public education
  • Gary Orfield, Civil Rights Project, University of California-Los Angeles

WHEN: Monday, March 5, 2018. 9:30am bagels/coffee service; Program 10:00–11:30am EST. RSVP HERE

 WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building: Room SD-G50