A new report says that children in the Milwaukee school choice voucher program were 18 percent more likely to graduate than students in the Milwaukee Public Schools (See: news article). The author of the study, Professor Robert Warren of the University of Minnesota, studied the voucher program from 2003-2008. Warren said if public school students graduated at the same rate as voucher students, 3,352 more public school students would have graduated over the same period. The difference in graduation rates is particularly striking considering the Milwaukee school choice program only enrolls low income students, while the Milwaukee Public Schools enrolls students from all economic classes.
Considering the beneficial impacts of school choice for the students, parents and community, it’s hard to find a credible reason why North Carolina shouldn’t adopt a similar program. Sixty-Seven percent of likely voters in North Carolina said they support giving parents vouchers so that their child can attend any school they choose (December 2009 Civitas DecisonMaker Poll). Even most charter schools have higher graduation rates than traditional public schools. Despite 16,000 kids on charter school waiting lists and 56 percent of likely voters in North Carolina (January 2010 Civitas DecisionMaker Poll) who favor lifting the cap, law makers in Raleigh continue to ignore public sentiment. Political candidates take note.