By Dr. Howard Fuller, a former Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent. He directs the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University and chairs the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Choices in Education.
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program which is the nation's first school voucher program for low income families has grown to nearly 15,000 children in 125 schools. The money follows the child. There is an array of 49 charter schools, 19 partnership schools and traditional public schools from which low-income parents can choose. There is no other American city that provides parents with so many choices - especially poor black parents.
"That critical shift in power from bureaucracy to parents has had far-reaching, positive impacts on Milwaukee Public Schools. The dire prediction that the program would lead to the demise of the Milwaukee Public Schools simply isn’t true. In fact, MPS results suggest the opposite."
Here, instead, is what has resulted:
* Enrollment is up.
* Dropout rate has declined.
* Test scores have improved.
* Real spending per pupil has increased.
Milwaukee Public School Superintendent William Andrekopoulos recently stated:
“We do things differently because we have to compete. We have a consciousness of all the options in the community.”
There is a group of democrats (!!) who now back school choice because the benefits are so obvious. Guess who DOESN'T support school choice? You got it - the teachers' unions.
"The need for broad-based support continues because the attacks of choice opponents—mostly orchestrated by the teachers’ unions—never end. After the teachers’ unions and their allies suffered two legal defeats in which the Institute for Justice successfully defended parental choice, the opponents of choice have turned to politics. "
We have to remain vigilant and continue to fight the individuals and groups who rail against parental choice. They won't go away. That is one reason I love The Institue for Justice. They are 'Litigating For Liberty'. It's not just property rights they fight for, it's educational choice, freedom of speech, occupational licensing, and helping to overcome entrepreneurial hurdles. What I display here for you are but tiny nuggets from a veritable mother-lode. Click on the title and, as they say, Read The Whole Thing.
Dr. Fuller says in the closing of his article:
After 15 years of school choice in Milwaukee, we know that school choice works for students, schools and our community. We also have learned that our foes will persist. So must we.