Dispatches critics’ claims, debunks oft-repeated myths about Wisconsin’s school choice programs
March 1, 2016 – Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty has released a policy brief, “Busting Four MORE Myths About School Choice,” that debunks the various talking points coming from opponents of Wisconsin’s school choice programs. From elected officials to school superintendents, claims are made that, as the WILL policy brief notes, are not factually based.
The report, co-authored by Dr. Will Flanders and CJ Szafir, exposes the factually-challenged, yet regularly repeated, claims such as:
* The Wisconsin Parental Choice Program costs public schools money
* Private schools illegally discriminate against special needs children
* School choice is extremely unpopular
* Studies show that school choice is a failure
As many states across the country are looking at ways to expand educational opportunities for families, entrenched interests continue to try to throw up roadblocks to Wisconsin’s evolving school choice policies. Whether repeated by a liberal Congressman from Madison or superintendents far away from the challenges facing students in Wisconsin’s urban districts, these claims may become, as all myths are wont to do, “conventional wisdom.” But conventional wisdom is often wrong.
On a key and heavily debated effect of the state budget – the effect Wisconsin Parental Choice Program has on the budgets of public schools – WILL economist Dr. Will Flanders concluded, “The numbers associated with the funding of the voucher program are clear: schools that lose students to private schools through the program have received substantial amounts of money to educate students that are not in their classroom. Ten school districts skimmed over $100,000 from taxpayers. This finding directly contradicts the claims made by many school districts around the state.”
WILL’s Vice President for Policy CJ Szafir noted, “People in Wisconsin should be able to have an honest debate about how best to provide educational opportunities for our children without rote opposition. This policy brief breaks down the too-often repeated claims.”
Last summer, in the wake of Wisconsin’s biennial budget, WILL released, “Busting Six Myths About School Choice” and “Pope’s Fallacy” to counter opponents’ claims against the voucher program and to clear misconceptions about school funding in Wisconsin.
WILL’s latest mythbusting brief is available here and our other comprehensive education reform research is available here.