Public Policy Forum Research
Choice schools have much in common with MPS, including student performance
If Milwaukee’s taxpayer-funded private school choice program were a school district, it would be the third-largest district in the state, with nearly 25,000 publicly-funded students. In addition, the participating schools would rank second only to the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) in terms of the proportions of low-income and minority students enrolled. In terms of student headcount, schools in the choice program educate a larger number of both African-American and Hispanic students than any other Wisconsin district, except MPS.
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), now in its 23rd year, includes 113 private schools. For most of the program’s history, little has been known about the performance of the participating students. Today, schools report MPCP student proficiency rates as measured by state standardized exams, which tend to be slightly below proficiency rates of students in MPS. (Other MPCP performance measures, such as attendance and graduation rates, remain unknown.)
The limited data available make clear that when the MPCP is considered as a whole, it has much in common with other large, urban districts in the state in terms of student demographics, exam outcomes, and state aid. Where it differs significantly, however, is the rapid rate of enrollment growth it is experiencing, the much lower per-pupil costs, and the lack of performance data related to student achievement.
For more information on the individual schools in the program, click here.