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Bridge week? School Choice Wisconsin questions scheduling practice

June 23, 2022

Recently we ran into a headline that piqued our interest here at School Choice Wisconsin: The four high schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District, the second-biggest district in the state, have enacted a concept called bridge week. Students who’ve earned Cs or higher were not required to come to school on June 7 or 8 as the schools planned to focus on kids who’ve logged Ds and Fs on those days, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The kids with higher grades were not to be marked absent. Final exams, which would have been an end-of-year focus, were scrapped more…

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Choice schools tackle pandemic-related learning loss

June 23, 2022

School Choice Wisconsin set out to see what some of our choice schools did last year and will do going forward to combat the disruptions and learning loss that followed the pandemic lockdowns. See what we found. Recent headlines, such as this story in The New York Times and this piece in The Atlantic, cite a pandemic-related learning loss that is more serious than many had realized. The loss was worse for schools that stayed closed longer in response to the pandemic, according to a study from Harvard’s Center for Education Policy. “Remote learning was a failure,” wrote The New…

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Will SCOTUS ruling in Carson v. Makin affect Wisconsin? 

June 23, 2022

Tuesday’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in the Carson v. Makin case, a big win for school choice, may have implications for religious choice schools here in Wisconsin. In its ruling, the court struck down a law in the state of Maine that excluded schools providing religious instruction from a voucher program that allowed parents in areas with no public school to send their kids to private schools. “Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the court’s opinion on the case. He was joined by…

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SCOTUS ruling is a win for school choice

June 21, 2022

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to allow parents in Maine to use state funds to pay tuition for religious schools. This is an important case for the choice movement and a big win. The case was titled Carson v. Makin, No. 20-1088. See this story from The New York Times.

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St. Aug prep breaks ground, crime down

June 10, 2022

Some very nice news surrounding a choice school in Milwaukee this week. St. Augustine Preparatory Academy, a Milwaukee Parental Choice Program school, broke ground this week on a grade school facility on Milwaukee’s south side. The $49 million building will have room for 900 K4 to 5th grade students. The K4–12 school, expected to be completed in 2023, will be the biggest single-campus school in Milwaukee and will have space to serve 2,400 students, according to a press release, BizTimes reported. One of the most interesting facts to emerge: Since the school opened, crime in the area has fallen by…

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Report: Milwaukee choice students outperforming peers

May 26, 2022

By School Choice Wisconsin Students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program continue to outperform their public school peers, says a new report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL). Proficiency rates in private choice schools were 4.6% higher in English/language arts and 4.5% higher in math on average than proficiency rates in traditional public schools in Milwaukee, says the Apples to Apples report from WILL. The report draws on data from the state Department of Public Instruction’s WISEdash system for the 2020­–21 school year. Among the report’s other findings: Forward Exam participation was higher in Milwaukee choice and…

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What We’re Reading: School Choice Gathering Steam

May 20, 2022

It’s heartening to see movements for school choice gathering steam around the U.S., following the lead of School Choice Wisconsin’s founders, who spearheaded the drive toward parental empowerment. If you cruise around Google News or other news aggregators, you’ll see how broad the interest in school choice is across the country. Here are a few links of interest. Brandon Jennings attempting to launch Milwaukee voucher school School choice in America Elected officials can’t ignore reality on school choice  The growing enthusiasm for school choice reflects the views found in a recent survey School Choice Wisconsin commissioned. In the survey, conducted…

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A Tony Evers’ Veto on School Choice for All Would Be Morally Wrong

March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022 By George Mitchell While Superintendent of Public Instruction, Gov. Tony Evers wrote to legislators a decade ago that expanding the Wisconsin Parental Choice program was “morally wrong.” Evers said he reached that conclusion because the program “has not improved overall student achievement.” Fast forward to the present. Under criteria applied by none other than Evers’ education agency, private choice schools in the state’s largest choice program — Milwaukee — score higher on the DPI Report Card than do public schools. DPI data show that by other measures — such as the college-readiness ACT test — students in the state’s…

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Choice Schools and Families Stranded When DPI Drops the Ball

February 21, 2022

This year in Wisconsin, 49,000 students are enrolled in private schools through the Milwaukee, Racine, or Statewide Parental Choice Program. These are students in hard-working lower-income families who have been given a voucher to attend the school of their choice. The program is a blessing to families who could not otherwise afford the education that best meets their child’s needs. The only way parents can apply for the Parental Choice Program is through the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI)’s Online Application System (OAS) during the enrollment period for their program. OAS is also the only place where schools can…

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Why Not School Choice?

January 26, 2022

January 26, 2022 By Edgar Zaragoza Wisconsin’s private school choice program has benefited my family and—through my work at the Green Bay Area Catholic Education School System (GRACE)—I’ve personally seen it change the lives of hundreds of families for the better. Why not bring the blessing of choice to more families? About a decade ago, I worked at a public school, but hoped for a different quality of education and faith-based environment for my oldest daughter. By asking many questions about our options, I learned about Wisconsin’s School Voucher Program and applied for it through GRACE. When we received a voucher, I thought the…

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