About Serving Our Children
Serving Our Children is dedicated to the concept that all students, regardless of income or socioeconomic status, should have access to a quality education. We believe a quality education is a civil right. All students are capable of significant achievement, and a first class education is the key to unlocking the American dream and obtaining economic security. To this end, our goal is to ensure that parents have access to as many school choice options as possible. Specifically, parents should have access to quality traditional public schools, quality charter schools, and quality private schools. Serving Our Children is especially focused on ensuring that low income D.C. families have access to scholarships to enable them to send their children to private schools as one option of school choice.
The Opportunity Scholarship Program
The Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) offers scholarships – sometimes called vouchers – to low income children in the District of Columbia to attend a participating D.C. private school of their choice. It is funded under the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, and is the only federally funded voucher program in the country. The program was enacted by Congress as part of a three-sector approach to improve educational outcomes in the District of Columbia. The SOAR Act dedicates equal funds to support traditional public schools, public charter schools, and opportunity scholarships. The OSP is a critical component of ensuring that low income families have the same opportunities as more affluent families, to choose between public schools, charter schools, and quality private schools. Currently, 97 percent of participating children are African-American and Hispanic, and the average income for participating families is less than $22,000 per year. This program has offered a lifeline for thousands of low-income families in the District who firmly believe that a private school is or was the best option for their children to reach their achievement goals.
What We Do
Serving Our Children administers the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). The OSP provides scholarships to underserved families residing in the District of Columbia. Our goal is to provide low-income families in the District of Columbia with expanded educational opportunities for their children.
- Over 19,800 D.C. children have applied to the OSP since we started in SY 2004-05
- Over 7,900 students have been awarded an OSP scholarship since SY 2004-05
- 1,653 OSP students enrolled in participating schools for SY 2017-18
- 60% of OSP students received SNAP and/or TANF benefits for SY 2015-16
- $20,472 was the average annual household income for 2015 (by student)
- 63% of OSP students enrolled reside in Ward 4, 7, and 8
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) was created in 2004 with bi-partisan support in response to the growing need for access to quality educational options for D.C. families. It is the first federal government initiative to provide scholarships for grades K-12 for low-income children to attend a private school. The program began as part of a city-wide effort to improve all of the District’s educational sectors – public, public charter and non-public – in an effort to expand quality educational experiences for District families.