Friday, August 26, 2011

Majority of New Voucher Users already in Private Schools. So much for helping the needy.

And here I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about vouchers. The following revelation explains a lot about why Gov. Scott Walker wanted to lift the cap completely on family incomes in the voucher program. As it stands now, the program is scheduled to expand across the state.
Post Crescent: The stated goal of Milwaukee's school voucher program has always been to provide children from low-income families a chance to go to a private school instead of the troubled Milwaukee Public Schools.

As the voucher program expands this year — the enrollment cap has been lifted, the income cap for a married-couple family has been raised to $74,000 and a program is starting in Racine.

A nonpartisan research organization in Milwaukee, Public Policy Forum, did a count of all Milwaukee voucher school students in the 2006-07 school year, the last time the enrollment cap was raised. It found that 60 percent of the students new to the program that year came not from Milwaukee public schools but from private schools … The same thing happened in 1998, the previous year in which the enrollment cap was raised — 58 percent of the new voucher users were already in private schools.

So if the whole point of the voucher program is to allow students to get out of underperforming public schools, what does it say about the program if most of the new students in these years already were out? This is another bit of evidence that questions the value of voucher programs and, it's hoped, will turn back "voucher creep" in Wisconsin. 

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