The Votes Are In: Small Scholarships Have a Big Impact

CascadeNewLogoBy Kathryn Hickok

The Children’s Scholarship Fund is a nationally recognized, privately funded scholarship program which has helped more than 139,000 low-income children attend tuition-based elementary schools nationwide since 1998. The program recently surveyed scholarship families in New York about their experiences. The results include:

  • 98.5 percent said their CSF scholarships help them make the best educational choices for their child.
  • 73.1 percent reported they could not afford to send their child to their chosen school without a CSF scholarship.
  • 70.3 percent noticed an improvement in their child’s academic performance and/or engagement since enrolling in their current school.

While New York City public schools spend about $20,000 per student, an average CSF scholarship grant of $1,600 is enough to empower these low-income parents to obtain a private school education for their kids.

Cascade Policy Institute runs the Oregon partner program of the Children’s Scholarship Fund. The New York program’s poll results are consistent with the informal feedback Cascade receives from scholarship parents here. “I wish that the education system could understand that not every child fits into the same sized box, and everyone needs to do what is right for their family,” said one Portland-area CSF parent.

Programs like the Children’s Scholarship Fund respect the decision-making processes of families and support parents in directing their children’s education. School choice programs like CSF prove that good things happen when parents can vote with their feet on behalf of their own kids.

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program at Cascade Policy Institute.

  • Joyce

    These scholarships are bad as they enable kids to get out of mandatory public education, which is best, and often into religious oriented schooling, which is very, very bad. I will fight this school “choice” movement with every fiber in my body as it is wrong. We must all go to the same schools with certified teachers from real colleges. We must not allow our students to be shaped by religion…they can get that on Sunday, not every day of the week they are in school.

    • Normal Schwarzcough!

      Bovine Scatology!

  • Bob Clark

    Public education has gone from being primarily about getting the farm kids educated with a teacher(s) hosted by farm families to the current arrangement whereby families are captive to the public teachers union. In turn the teachers union, throws millions electing the politicians who negotiate the union contracts (a form of self dealing); and moreover, these politicians prevent families and communities from taking their public education dollars and allocating to non-public schools.