WILL begins National School Choice Week with release of groundbreaking new study.
The News: On the first day of National School Choice Week, a new study (here) estimates how further growth of Wisconsin’s parental choice programs could result in $3.2 billion in new economic benefits to Wisconsin over the next two decades. Ripple Effect, authored by Will Flanders, PhD, builds upon a recent study which documented how students in MPCP are more likely to graduate from college to extrapolate the economic gains to Wisconsin if the parental choice programs were expanded.
Broken down, Wisconsin’s cities could expect to see:
- $100 million in economic benefits for Madison
- $75 million in economic benefits for Green Bay
- $60 million in economic benefits for Appleton
- $24 million in economic benefits for La Crosse
Kenya’s Story: These economic gains can be understood through Kenya Green. As a child in Milwaukee, she struggled at Milwaukee Public Schools. By the time she was in eighth grade, she was close to giving up, seemingly forced to attend unsafe, low-performing MPS schools. But through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, she discovered HOPE Christian Schools, which transformed her life. The school gave her the rigorous academics and the structure she needed. After graduating from HOPE, she attended Wisconsin Lutheran College, graduated, got a job, and is now in school to become an aesthetician.
The Study – Need to Know: Recent research has found that Kenya’s story is typical in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. The MPCP results in more college graduates than students from similar backgrounds. Building off this research, Will Flanders PhD, explored the implications of expanded enrollment in Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Program – the statewide voucher program that currently has tight caps on enrollment. Flanders’ model indicates that an expansion of the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program to 20% enrollment would result in 400 more low-income Wisconsin students graduating from college per year. Because of the immense economic benefits of a college degree, Wisconsin could expect to benefit from more college graduates to the tune of $3.2 billion over two decades – $2.6 billion in consumer spending and nearly half billion in additional tax revenue.
The Quotes: Research Director Will Flanders said, “During National School Choice Week, we celebrate the many educational options that Wisconsinites use for their children. This new study shows if policymakers in Madison continue to help expand school choice, it will not only help children, but it can lead to economic gains for the state.”
Kenya Green said: “Having the voucher and being able to attend HOPE Christian High School provided me a life. It gave me something no one in my family had had the chance to do. The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program gave me the opportunity to put myself on a path to success instead of a path to poverty.”
- “Kenya’s Journey to College,” Cori Petersen, January 25, 2020
- WILL’s School Choice Infographic