WILL President and General Counsel, Rick Esenberg, and Deputy Counsel, CJ Szafir, write in The Hill, encouraging President Trump to be advocates at the national level for states to grow their school choice programs.
“The Trump Administration should learn the lessons of Milwaukee, home to the country’s oldest and one of its largest school voucher programs. Even though Milwaukee shows that school choice can work, any national voucher plan will have plenty of opponents who will work to undermine it, putting their interests ahead of children.
Starting in 1990, a bipartisan coalition created the nation’s first private school choice program in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program currently gives families at 300 percent of the poverty line or below access to a taxpayer funded voucher of $7,646 (average) to attend a private school of their choice. The program is incredibly popular, serving over 27,000 low-income children at 121 private schools in Milwaukee.
Not every private voucher school is high-performing.
But new research by our colleague, Dr. Will Flanders, adds to the growing number of studies showing how children in the Milwaukee choice program are better off than their peers in Milwaukee Public Schools — which receives 30 percent more per student than the voucher (more if you include federal dollars) to produce a dismal graduation rate of 58 percent and 23,000 children attending 41 failing schools.
When controlled race and socioeconomic status, students in the voucher program were about 5 percent more likely to be proficient in English and 4 percent more likely to be proficient in math than their peers at Milwaukee Public Schools, according to Flanders research.”