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Press Release

Milwaukee’s Public Schools in an Era of Choice


Milwaukee parents have more tax-supported educational choices than parents in other U.S. cities. These include private schools with voucher students, charter schools, contracted schools serving at-risk students, state and district-wide open enrollment, district specialty schools, and traditional neighborhood schools.

Most of these programs were enacted or expanded during the 1990s. Opponents of Milwaukee’s school choice programs predicted that they would foster enrollment declines, less financial support, and lower academic achievement in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). School choice proponents suggested the opposite would occur.

Using MPS data, this report describes actual trends during the time that MPS has operated in the nation’s most wide-open K-12 education market. These MPS data demonstrate that school choice opponents have, so far, been wrong.