A sign is seen in an entryway at The Academy of Classical Christian Studies while students gather in the background May 9, 2018. Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch

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Oklahoma’s private school voucher program grew 24% last year, and demographic data on those students now is available on the state Education Department website.

Last year, 1,245 students received funds totaling $9.1 million through the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program. The program was established by the Legislature in 2010 to subsidize private school tuition for students with disabilities. Eligibility was expanded in 2017 to children in foster care and children adopted out of state custody.

Other highlights from the latest report:

• Of the 1,410 applicants, 520 were new to the program and 890 were renewals. There were 142 students whose applications were declined or withdrawn.

• The 23 students whose applications were declined represented a 44% increase over the previous year (though still a small percentage of the total).

• Of the students whose race or ethnicity was reported, about 50% are white, 15% are two or more races, 13% are Hispanic, 11% are Native American and 11% are Black. The rest fell into other categories.

• Income status was indicated for 1,106 participants; of those, 243 were considered low-income (22%).

As we’ve reported before, this data wasn’t even required until 2019. Other states with similar programs require the reporting of academic outcomes such as graduation rates or test scores. Oklahoma does not.

As I continue reporting on the program, I’d love to hear from Oklahomans who have applied or are attending school on a Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship. Reach me via email or direct message. Take care.

— Jennifer Palmer

Recommended Reading

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt has vowed to revive a plan for private school vouchers next Legislative session, but details are scarce. A proposal earlier this year narrowly failed in the Senate. [The Frontier]
  • A teacher and coach in Moore Public Schools resigned after sending inappropriate Snapchat messages to an eighth-grade girl and the state Education Department moved to revoke his teaching credentials. [NonDoc]
  • The Catholic Archdiocese wants to open a virtual charter school, and an opinion by Attorney General John O’Connor says Oklahoma should allow it, despite a provision in state law requiring charters to be secular. [Forbes]
  • Computer science students and recent graduates are facing layoffs, hiring freezes and recruiting slowdowns at Meta, Twitter and other giant tech companies. [The New York Times]

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