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Official State of Wisconsin Study Confirms Success of School Choice

This is big news for those who support education reform, school choice, educating kids, etc.

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Students attending private schools in Milwaukee with publically funded vouchers showed stronger gains in achievement than their public school counterparts, according to the latest release from a University of Arkansas sponsored,  and State of Wisconsin sanctioned, longitudinal study.

University of Arkansas professor Patrick J. Wolf heads their School Choice Demonstration Project and has been conducting the five-year longitudinal study as authorized by a 2005 Act of the Wisconsin legislature. On Monday the Project released their fifth annual report.

The SCDP is a nonpartisan study of education scholarships and other interventions on schools, students, parents, and communities. It is regarded as one of the strongest measurements of student progress within the country’s first modern school choice program.


The fifth year of this study was the first to find a legitimate difference in achievement between two groups of students. Over that span, the voucher students showed statistically significant growth over their peers in reading skills in 8th and 10th grade. These results were echoed across other grades as well, but were not strong enough to be considered a significant effect.

Grades 7, 8, and 10 were the only ones eligible for testing since the longitudinal study began five years earlier and had tracked students from that point. 1,282 students qualified for the comparison, which toiled to create two separate testing groups with similar backgrounds to mine the true effects of school choice in Milwaukee. As a result, the data presented deals with students who started at a similar point but have now grown thanks to their educational experiences.

In simple terms, students in the MPCP outperformed their counterparts by a significant margin when it came to reading. In eighth grade, a voucher student was 17 percent more likely to outgain a regular public school student when it came to reading and literacy.

Growth was also observed in mathematics for these students over the same period. Amongst seventh graders, MPCP students were 11 percent more likely to outscore their MPS peers. Read more>>

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