For Immediate Release
September 12, 2019
Contact: Jim Bender

DPI gets an “F” on transparency by withholding crucial data from media

Test results released yesterday by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) show that again this year, students in the Parental Choice Programs are outperforming their full-income, public-school peers on the ACT. As with all test data, a one-year snapshot of raw data has limitations but the trend of higher scores for students on a voucher is great news for both students and taxpayers. New this year were the results of the Aspire Exam as part of the ACT suite. Students in the Parental Choice Programs also scored higher on these exams across the board.

In a troubling maneuver, however, DPI did not release all of the data for the Parental Choice Programs as part of their public release to the media. As required by statute 119.23(11)(d), DPI should have released all the data at the same time. Instead, not only did they not release the choice data broken out by program, enabling a true comparison to peer groups, they refused to release it when members of the media requested that specific data.

“Once again, with lower funding per student, the Parental Choice Programs continue to show better results for the fourth year in a row on the ACT,” Jim Bender said. “Unfortunately, the lack of transparency by DPI meant the media did not have comparable data when writing their stories. Was this by design?”

*State average typically increases .2 average score when Milwaukee and Racine are
removed from the state average. The WPCP covers the entire state except Milwaukee and Racine.

*State average typically increases .2 average score when Milwaukee and Racine are removed from the state average. The WPCP covers the entire state except Milwaukee and Racine.

Income limits for Free and Reduced Lunch (Low Income) in public schools is 185% of the Federal Poverty Level. Income Limits for the MPCP and RPCP are 300% of FPL. The WPCP has an income limit of 220% of the FPL.