New DPI Enrollment Figures Show Continued Growth in Choice Programs
Late Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released their annual figures for students participating in the voucher program.
Wisconsin currently has four programs that afford financially challenged families the opportunity to attend a private school of their choice with a voucher. (Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, Racine Parental Choice Program, Wisconsin Parental Choice Program and new this year, the Special Needs Scholarship)
All four of these programs saw ample growth in attendance.
“The continuing increases in enrollment confirms that parents want more educational options for their children,” said Justin Moralez, of the American Federation for Children. “Thankfully, the state legislature and the Governor have been willing to provide them. Unfortunately, too many parents are still on waiting lists. Parents should not have to wait to get their children into the school that best meets their needs.”
In its initial year of eligibility, 206 students were able to enroll in the Special Needs Scholarship. This number far exceeds anticipation and highlights the need for such an important program.
While additional families may have been able to take advantage of educational opportunity, the statewide program has a waiting list due to the internal caps in the WPCP. Currently there are hundreds of families who could not get in.
“We are pleased to see increase in enrollment but are cognizant of the families who still seek to find a learning environment that is the most suitable to their child’s needs” noted Moralez.
This news comes just days after DPI released showing students in Wisconsin’s three school choice programs outperformed their peers in traditional public school. This is the second year in a row in which students from predominantly low-income families enrolled in the school choice programs demonstrated higher test scores on Wisconsin’s ACT and Forward exams compared to low-income students enrolled in traditional public schools.
American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.