NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Voucher Schools Prove Themselves In Milwaukee

July 6, 2000

One claim made against vouchers that allow public education dollars to follow students to the public or private school of their choice is that they will lead to racial isolation. Opponents argue public schools are a source of social integration.

But a new study by Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Howard Fuller and education consultant George Mitchell undercuts such arguments.

According to Investor's Business Daily, which does not name the report:

  • The report concludes that 50 percent of Milwaukee public school students attend racially isolated schools -- defined as those with 90 percent white or minority enrollment.
  • But only 30.1 percent of students at religious schools which use vouchers fall into that category.
  • Minorities account for 85 percent of voucher recipients in Milwaukee.
  • Earlier studies have illustrated the positive effect of vouchers on test scores and graduation rates.

But there is more good news -- and that has to do with costs. According to audits filed with the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction, Milwaukee's voucher schools are controlling costs to a far greater extent than public schools.

  • The annual cost per student in Milwaukee public schools is approximately $9,500.
  • Last year, 39 of the city's 82 choice schools spent less than the voucher amount of $4,894 per child.
  • In fact, taxpayer funds were actually sent back to the state because of greater efficiencies.

Source: Editorial, "Vouchers Promote Diversity," Investor's Business Daily, July 6, 2000.


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