The 2004 statute established what is now called the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP)-the first Federal government initiative to provide K–12 education scholarships to families to send their children to private schools. The OSP has the following programmatic elements:
The Washington Scholarship Fund (WSF), a 501(c)3 organization in the District of Columbia, was selected by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) through a competition to operate the Program. To date, there have been three rounds of applicants to the OSP (table ES-1). However, this report, and the mandated evaluation of the Program, draws only on eligible applicants in spring 2004 and in spring 2005 (cohorts 1 and 2) and, in particular, focuses on public school applicants whose award of a scholarship was determined by lottery. Descriptive reports on each of the first 2 years of implementation and cohorts of students have been previously prepared and released (Wolf, Gutmann, Eissa, Puma, and Silverberg, 2005; Wolf, Gutmann, Puma, and Silverberg, 2006)2. With the recent addition of a much smaller third cohort of participants, as of fall of 2006, exactly 1,800 students were using Opportunity Scholarships.