State Rep. Peter Barca
Press Release

Milwaukee, Racine public school students test higher than private voucher school counterparts

Republicans’ already faulty argument for voucher expansion evaporates entirely with new data

By - Apr 23rd, 2013 01:30 pm

MADISON – Students at private voucher schools in Milwaukee and Racine are testing several points lower on average than their public school counterparts, according to a report released today by the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

In the Milwaukee voucher program, the percentage of students proficient or advanced in math was 6.5 points lower than at Milwaukee Public Schools, while the percentage of students proficient or advanced in reading was 10 points lower. In the Racine voucher program, the percentage of students proficient or advanced in math was 3.7 points lower than in Racine public schools, while the percentage of students proficient or advanced in reading was 2.1 points lower.

The full DPI report can be viewed here.

In response to the report, Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) released the following statement:

“The governor says he wants to expand private vouchers to communities as a solution to helping students with poor test scores. But new test scores show that public school students perform better than their private voucher counterparts. The fact that public school students perform better than their private voucher counterparts dramatically undermines that argument.

“If Wisconsin lacks the resources to invest in public schools, which have proven track records of success in helping all children, then Republicans cannot  justify dumping tens of millions more in taxpayer money into a duplicative, private system that has lower scores and less accountability.

“Unfortunately the governor’s budget would give a $0 per pupil increase to public school students while increasing per pupil spending in private voucher schools by up to $1,414 per student.  This compounds the challenges facing public schools, which endured the largest cuts in Wisconsin history in the last budget, while Republicans forced taxpayers to spend tens of millions more on private voucher schools.

“The Republican education agenda is inequitable and – based on this report – clearly wrongheaded. It’s time Republicans stop taking taxpayers’ hard-earned money away from their public schools to spend it on sending a few, select students to private voucher schools and invest in improving performance for all Wisconsin children in their public education system.”

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