WILL Responds to New State Data Regarding School Performance

Poor-performing Wisconsin schools face massive tidal wave if forced to take on new students from Wisconsin’s Choice Program, because of even larger class sizes and teacher shortage

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released Tidal Wave: Exploring the Ripple of Ending School Choice in Wisconsin, a new report that examines the practical implications of ending school choice in Wisconsin.
These findings come on the heels of DPI’s annual State Report Card Data. The state’s data shows a large concentration of poor-performing schools in the Milwaukee and Racine area, the districts that would be hardest hit by a pending lawsuit seeking an end to Wisconsin’s Choice Program.
The Quote: WILL Research Director, Will Flanders stated, “The new data from the Department of Public Instruction highlights a worsening crisis for public schools, especially if a new lawsuit were to eliminate Wisconsin’s choice program. Wisconsin’s worst-performing school districts are set to receive tens of thousands of new students, worsening problems that already exist considering capacity, transportation and teacher shortages. Make no mistake, DPI’s report card data in conjunction with our findings show a massive tidal wave is building.”
Why It Matters: According to data from Department of Public Instruction, more than 44% of schools of public schools in Milwaukee “Fail to Meet Expectations” or “Meet Few Expectations.” In Racine, more than 52% of schools fall into these “lower performing” categories. This is on top of districtwide proficiency rates of less than 20% in both math and English Language Arts in Milwaukee and Racine.
Our new findings were published this morning in, Tidal Wave: Exploring the Ripple of Ending School Choice in Wisconsin, examine the practical implications of ending Wisconsin’s choice program and how it could play out in school systems that the state of Wisconsin shows are already struggling, such as those in Milwaukee and Racine. Our key findings are highlights below:
  • Capacity Crisis – According to MPS’s own data and the number of Milwaukee-area students within the choice program, the school district would need to purchase about 17 additional school buildings to accommodate new enrollment.
  • Worsening Teacher Shortage – To maintain current teacher to student ratios (taking aside current complaints of a teacher shortage nationwide), Milwaukee would need to hire over 2,000 teachers. Racine would need to hire about 376 new teachers. Other districts around the state would need to hire about 1,359 teachers.
  • Transportation – Schools would also need to add transportation or bussing capacity, though we have not yet been able to estimate what those costs may be.
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Will Flanders, PHD

Will Flanders, PHD

Research Director

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