Parental choice programs have grown in Wisconsin over the years. Why? Because parental choice delivers results for families.
- Choice students outscore public school students on the college-readiness ACT test.
- Choice and charter students generally score higher on the state’s academic proficiency exams.
- Choice and charter schools rank high on DPI report cards.
- Milwaukee school choice students are more likely to be successful in life. A scholarly study found that exposure to school choice is associated with a reduction of around 53% in drug convictions, 86% in property damage convictions, and 38% in paternity suits.
Wisconsin families want more educational options. But current programs will not survive – let alone expand – unless we address major threats.
Close the Funding Gap
All children have value. Yet those who attend private and independent charter schools receive only about 60 percent of funding available to public school students. We need to close that gap.
The funding gap particularly hurts private high schools, including those in Milwaukee and Racine, that significantly outperform public schools. Private schools struggle to compete for teachers. An exemplary Milwaukee high school has closed. Others are cutting back on seats.
Eliminate the Property Tax Impact
Enrollment growth can mean high property taxes. This is true except in Milwaukee, where choice will soon be paid 100% by state general purpose revenue. We should do the same elsewhere, including for independent charters. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates this would be a statewide property tax cut of $200 million.
End Barriers to Entry
Any family may choose traditional public schools, charters or open enrollment. Barriers to entry exist only in the Milwaukee, Racine and statewide parental choice programs.
Income eligibility is not the only barrier. Restrictive enrollment periods, district enrollment caps and grade point entry levels limit the ability of families to participate.