In what the Wall Street Journal labeled “The Year of School Choice,” 2011 saw the continued growth of one of the country’s most prominent systems of school choice: The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP).
A report released last week by the University of Arkansas details some of the amazing accomplishments of MPCP:
- Enrolling in a private high school through MPCP increases the likelihood of a student graduating, enrolling in a four-year college, and persisting in college by 4 to 7 percentage points.
- Tracking MPCP and public-school students over four years, researchers found that MPCP outperform in reading and have similar results in math.
- Countering arguments that MPCP students are already high-achieving, researchers found that between 7.5 and 14.6 percent have a disability and many come to MPCP schools one to two years behind academically.
The study also uncovered that the MPCP system brings numerous external benefits to the state:
- Students who remained in public schools were performing at higher levels due to competitive pressures from voucher schools.
- Because the state-provided vouchers are less than the average cost of educating a student, the government realizes education savings (nearly $52 million in fiscal year 2011).
- The MPCP has had no discernible effect on the racial segregation of schools or housing costs across neighborhoods.
- The MPCP system does not create barriers to school switching between public and voucher schools — students continue to exercise high levels of educational mobility.
You can read the complete report from the U of A’s Patrick J. Wolf here.
This is great intellectual ammunition for activists & legislators in our state who are prepping for a school choice battle in the 2013 Arkansas legislative session. Arm yourself with the facts! And pray that Pat Wolf doesn’t lose his job.