Out of Control Policy Blog

Milwaukee Vouchers Lift All Boats

The Alliance for School Choice reports on the latest Milwaukee  Parental Choice Program evaluation out of the University of Arkansas.

  • Students in Milwaukee’s school voucher program are getting an equal or better education at half the cost of local public schools, according to a major report released today. The report also validated that the nation’s longest-running private school choice program improves public school performance and boosts achievement for participating students. . .
  • Conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas as part of the independent School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP), the report found that students in the program generally posted achievement gains that were somewhat higher than that of students in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). When compared to children in MPS, students enrolled in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program experienced statistically significant gains in 7th and 8th grade math.
  • At the same time, the report concluded that the MPCP continues to save Wisconsin taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year. For FY 2009 alone, the state saved $37 million as a result of the voucher program. While the report is focused on state sources of funding, when federal sources of funding are included, it costs $13,468 to educate an MPS child, versus a maximum of $6,607 to educate an MPCP student.
  • In a significant finding that undercuts the main arguments of school choice detractors, the study demonstrated conclusively that the presence of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) helped local public schools improve. In the words of the authors: “It appears that Milwaukee Public Schools are more attentive to the academic needs of students when those students have more opportunities to leave those schools.”

For the full collection of seven reports at the University of Arkansas School Choice Demonstration Project go here.

Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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