Milwaukee vouchers boost graduation rate

Milwaukee’s school voucher program increased the chances of students graduating from high school and going on to college, according to five years of research by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas. Low-income students can use vouchers to attend private schools.

“The Choice Program boosts the rates at which students graduate from high school, enroll in a four-year college, and persist in college,” said John Witte, professor of political science and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Voucher students’ achievement growth was higher in reading but similar in math to comparable public school students, the analysis concluded. In the upper grades, voucher students performed better in reading and science but worse in math.

From 7.5 to 14.6 percent of voucher students have disabilities, the study calculates. That’s much higher than the state’s estimate, which was based only on students receiving test accommodations. Compared to private schools, public schools are 60 percent more likely to identify a student as needing special education. Many students who switched from public to private schools no longer are considered disabled.


About Joanne