Newsflash: More than 100,000 K-12 students are now eligible for the Ohio EdChoice Scholarship program!!
Quite a holiday gift for some 60,000 additional children was delivered by the Ohio legislature in late December. By adjusting the eligibility criteria, one of the nation’s first K-12 statewide scholarship programs, known as EdChoice, more than doubled the number of students eligible in 2007 for the approximately 11,000 scholarships still available.
In 2005, EdChoice became permanent law and created 14,000 K-12 scholarships for an estimated 19,000 children who were attending public schools that had earned the lowest rating of “Academic Emergency” for three consecutive years on the State’s report card for schools. Amazingly, in March 2006, the legislature expanded the eligibility to include those students attending schools rated in “Academic Watch” as well. Thanks to this action, the number of eligible children exceeded 45,000.
About 3,000 EdChoice Scholarships were awarded for the 2006-07 school year. This “take-up” of scholarships among those eligible compared quite well with the first year results in the nation’s other such scholarship programs in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Florida and Washington, D.C.
Thirty-three private schools in Ohio enrolled 30 or more of these 3,000 EdChoice students in the program’s first year. Visits by SCO staff to eighteen of these schools in Toledo, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati in late 2006 found principals pleased with how well the students and their parents had adapted to the school’s culture, academic rigor, and behavior and attendance expectations. The administrators and each school’s teaching staff are confident that serving these children will result in graduates who are confident and capable of an expanded array of school and career choices as young adults!
Based upon school closings and several improved ratings for several of the public schools, it was estimated that about 35,000 children would be eligible for