Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty
Press Release

Study: Parents in Milwaukee Are Choosing Schools Based on Quality

What you need to know about WILL’s landmark school choice study

By - Nov 27th, 2018 08:12 am

Background: With traditional Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), three types of public charter schools, and private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), few cities, if any, offer more educational options than Milwaukee. However, not enough research has been done about why parents choose the schools they do, why schools grow and shrink, and why schools close.

A new study by WILL’s Dr. Will Flanders and Cato Institute’s Corey DeAngelis seeks to fill that research void.

Study: 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. Conclusions:

  • Academic performance predicts enrollment growth and decline among private schools in the MPCP and public charter schools. It also predicts school closure in the MPCP.
  • Total enrollment predicts school closure among private schools in the MPCP and public MPS district schools.

Why it matters: The study provides evidence that parents are voting with their feet, choosing schools that are higher performing and safer. But the school choice programs are threatened by the governor-elect Tony Evers who has a history of being an opponent of vouchers and charters and ran on a platform of rolling back school choice. Proponents of school choice need to be on guard for new regulations that will hinder parental choice.

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