October 30, 2018
After Nearly Three Decades of Growth, Superintendent Evers Wants To End Programs
The Department of Public Instruction released the number of students that have enrolled to participate in the Parental Choice Programs in Wisconsin, which grew to more than 40,000 students in 2018.There are currently four Parental Choice Programs – The Milwaukee and Racine Programs serve those communities and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program serves the rest of the state. Additionally, the Special Needs Scholarship Program serves students statewide. All four choice programs saw enrollment increases over last year.
“Parental demand for the programs keeps driving up enrollment,” Jim Bender, President of School Choice Wisconsin said. “Knowing that popularity, it is surprising that the Superintendent of Public Instruction wants to stand in the school house door and deny access to the program, especially for low-income and minority students.”
Numerous public statements by Superintendent Evers indicate his desire to freeze enrollment and end the programs. This policy stance would result in the closure of dozens of urban private schools in high poverty neighborhoods, many of which significantly outperform their neighboring public schools.
Since they were created the Parental Choice Programs have grown from one year to the next. As seats become available, parents have shown a clear desire to fill them. For the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, that enrollment streak stretches to 29 straight years.
Below are the number of schools and students enrolled in the four Parental Choice Programs this fall.
Enrollment Comparison 2018-19
Comparing the 3rd Friday of Sept. Counts of 2017-18 and 2018-19