Wisconsin is home to the oldest private school voucher program in the entire country. What began in Milwaukee now serves low income and special needs children throughout the state. WILL has always prioritized school choice and will continue to provide legal services and high-quality research on Wisconin’s private school choice programs.
Research and Analysis
Without a Choice: Wisconsin’s High-performing School Deserts
July 30, 2020 | Will Flanders and Jessica Holmberg
A new report identifying 134 Wisconsin ZIP codes with 40,000 school-age children that have no high-performing school options within ten miles. The report, Without A Choice: Wisconsin’s High-performing School Deserts, sheds light on the rural regions of Wisconsin where students lack access to high-performing schools.
Ripple Effect: How Expanding Wisconsin’s School Choice Programs Can Lead to More College Graduates and A Stronger Economy
January 27, 2020 | Will Flanders
This study explores 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 Education Marketplace: The Predictors of School Growth and Closures in Milwaukee
November 27, 2018 | Will Flanders and Corey DeAngelis
WILL Research Director Will Flanders and Corey DeAngelis of the Cato Institute conducted a market analysis to determine how academic achievement, school safety, and enrollment trends predict school growth and school closure in Milwaukee.
Wisconsin Special Needs Children Deserve School Choice
August 30, 2017 | Will Flanders
WILL released a policy brief detailing how Wisconsin struggles to give special needs children the ability to choose their own school. While Wisconsin does have a special needs voucher program, Special Needs Scholarship Program, its restrictions and regulations make it unusable for too many parents with special needs children.
Accountability in Action: The Impat of Fiscal Accountability and parental Choice on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program
August 1, 2017 | Will Flanders and Corey DeAngelis
School Choice Wisconsin (SCW) and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) have co-authored a new, comprehensive study on the impact of Wisconsin’s accountability laws on private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP). The study, the first of its kind, explains how these laws – and parental choice – have influenced the manner that private schools have gained or lost access the MPCP, their fiscal viability and enrollment trends over time.
The Case for School Choice in Rural Wisconsin
April 13, 2017 | Will Flanders and Lauren Parrottino
Rural and small town students are too often forgotten in an education reform conversation that focuses on Milwaukee. But the policy brief, authored by WILL’s Will Flanders and Lauren Parrottino, explains how poverty and poor public schools aren’t just an urban problem. 144,000 rural and small town students live in poverty. 31 of the 38 lowest performing public school districts in Wisconsin are in rural or small town settings. 1 out of 4 students in rural Wisconsin require remediation math in college. Yet education options are limited.
The Economic Benefit of School Choice in Milwaukee
December 15, 2016 | Will Flanders and Corey DeAngelis
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has a nearly $500 million realized economic impact on the state, city, and students, according to a newly released study from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. The first-of-its-kind study in Milwaukee used data from other academic studies showing higher graduation rates and lower criminality rates associated with the MPCP and ran economic modeling on that data to arrive at their conclusion.
School Choice Across the Globe: Do Other Countries Have More Robust Voucher Programs than Wisconsin?
December 16, 2015 | Rick Esenberg, Alexandra Hudson, and CJ Szafir
WILL’s policy brief explores the school choice programs in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Chile. Our survey shows that free market concepts, such as universal voucher eligibility regardless of income and equal funding for all schools, do actually exist in the world. What appears politically impossible in the Badger State has been longstanding public policy elsewhere.
DPI’s War on Wisconsin’s School Choice Program
October 31, 2013 | Rick Esenberg and CJ Szafir
The report’s first part details DPI’s history – particularly under Superintendent Evers – of harassing, intimidating, and otherwise mistreating voucher schools in Milwaukee in Racine. The second part addresses the current controversy over the extent of the Superintendent’s constitutional authority, in particular the question of whether the Superintendent can impose Common Core standards on Wisconsin’s school districts contrary to the legislature’s wishes.
The Story of School Choice: Constitutional Challenges and Victories
April 22, 2013 | Rick Esenberg and CJ Szafir
“The Story of School Choice – Constitutional Challenges and Victories,” that provides a brief – but thorough – description of relevant Supreme Court cases on school choice. It seeks to rebut the unfounded attacks on the school choice program that have been coming from the usual roadblocks to education reform.