School Choice Equals Confidence and Success

Kathryn HickokQuickPoint!

In 1999 local Oregon donors pledged one million dollars to begin the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland. This program, unique in Oregon, enables children from low- income families to attend the K-12 schools their parents think are best for them. Local donations are matched by the national Children’s Scholarship Fund, which has helped over 86,000 children nationwide get a hand-up in life through education.

For nine school years CSF-Portland has proven that low-income parents desire to take charge of their children’s futures through educational opportunity. While their financial means are limited, CSF-Portland parents are knowledgeable about their options and determined to give their children a better chance. They value high-quality education as the way out of poverty and pay, on average, over half their tuition bill themselves.

The investments of CSF-Portland’s donors are reaping great rewards. Students are motivated to succeed. Some are now pursuing higher education in fields such as medicine and law.

One graduate says, “I seem to be going in the right direction toward achieving my goals.…[Y]ou have given me opportunity, confidence, faith, and trust that life has meaning, and that I am meant to succeed no matter what obstacles come my way.”

In a pioneer state, Oregonians should be proud of supporting ways to give low-income children more diverse choices in education. As one grandmother said, “It’s true if children are given a chance they can achieve.”

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Development Coordinator at Cascade Policy Institute, a think tank based in Portland, Oregon. She is also Cascade’s Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland.

© 2007, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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