Another Misleading Press Release on Education Funding

Comparing State Funding Only Creates Erroneous Conclusions

In response to the latest press release from school choice opponents, a little context is needed. Unfortunately, those protecting the status quo use a narrow set of data to create a false narrative.

Funding for public K12 schools in Wisconsin contains many different streams including state equalized aid, local property taxes, state categorical aids and federal aids. Funding for the Parental Choice Programs contain only one – direct state aid.

So when funding comparisons are made, they need to include all aspects of funding, not just state aid. The press release today tries to create the impression that students in the Parental Choice Programs receive more funding than students in a traditional public school. This is simply false.

The revenue limit on traditional public schools alone – the combination of state equalized aid and property taxes – was $10,312 for 2016. The voucher amount, even at the end of this budget, will be $7,757 for grades K-8 and $8,403 for high school.

Additionally, categorical and federal aids will put an additional $2,000 per student into traditional public schools. When compared in full, students in the Parental Choice Programs will receive thousands of dollars less per child than a student in a traditional public school.

The increase for the voucher amount is tied directly to the overall increase in public education spending. In other words, the voucher only increases, as a matter of law, the same amount as traditional public school funding.

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The 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.

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Wisconsin Study Shows Choice Program Students Outperform Traditional Public School Students

The Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty (WILL) released a comprehensive study that compared student outcomes in choice programs and traditional public schools, showing better academic outcomes for students participating in the choice programs.

“We are pleased to see that these improved student outcomes continue to reinforce the need for a robust choice program,” said Justin Moralez, State Director of the Wisconsin Federation for Children. “While Milwaukee has numerous choice options, families across the state find it more difficult to find the best educational opportunity. Those families in need will be encouraged to hear about these results, and legislators in the capitol should use this proven data to make bold reforms and sound policy decisions.”

The study is the first to use direct comparison models, using the most recent Forward and ACT exam scores in its evaluations. While this study is filled with extensive data assessment, there are a few notable data points:

A full copy of the study can be found here: http://bit.ly/2lre5Ff.

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The 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.

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Joint Statement On Wisconsin Budget Proposal

Investments In Education Create A Starting Point

Governor Walker’s proposed biennial state budget was introduced today and contains significant allotment of new dollars into K12 education. The following is a joint statement from School Choice Wisconsin and The Wisconsin Federation for Children:

“We are pleased with Governor Walker’s major investment in education in his proposed budget and thank him for additional increases in the voucher amount for the Parental Choice Programs. Each year of the budget will see a $217 increase per student in the programs.

“We are disappointed that none of these funds will be used to help hundreds of families get their children off of waiting lists and into the school of their choice. Across Wisconsin, demand for the Parental Choice Programs and the Special Needs Scholarship continues to grow. Unfortunately, program caps and limitations constrain supply and restrict access to quality schools by parents and students.

“This year, school choice supporters in both Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin will be making bold moves in creating and expanding opportunities for parents. We look forward to harnessing the national momentum around education reform in our work with our legislative champions in Wisconsin throughout the budget process. Hopefully, the legislative process will produce solutions for parents on waiting lists across Wisconsin.”

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The 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.

Wisconsin Coalition of School Choice Advocates Congratulates Betsy DeVos on Senate Confirmation to be Secretary of Education

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School Choice Wisconsin, Hispanics for School Choice, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, and Wisconsin Federation for Children express optimism that national education policy will center on educational opportunities for America’s families

February 7, 2017 – Milwaukee, WI – A coalition of school choice advocates today congratulated Betsy DeVos on her U.S. Senate confirmation vote to be Secretary of Education. DeVos was confirmed on a 51-50 vote, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote.

The group of advocates – School Choice Wisconsin, Hispanics for School Choice, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, and Wisconsin Federation for Children – is hopeful that with today’s vote, Mrs. DeVos can now turn her attention to the pressing needs of America’s education system and give all of our children an opportunity for success and a better future.

“Betsy DeVos brings decades of experience of empowering parents into an administration that made a policy commitment to student-centered education. Transferring power from the federal government back to the states requires a leader who welcomes change.

“Mrs. DeVos has been intimately involved in education reform efforts here in Wisconsin. Her record shows an unequivocal commitment to all children regardless of zip code or school type. Her continued focus will be on supporting those innovative leaders who excel.

“As leaders in Wisconsin education, we are excited about her commitment to sending more power and flexibility back to the states so that we can have a greater say in education policy.

“The Senators that voted to confirm Mrs. DeVos – including Wisconsin’s Senator Ron Johnson – should be commended for standing on behalf of parents and students as well-funded forces protecting the status quo reacted with predictable hyperbole.”

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The 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.

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AFC Congratulates Betsy DeVos on Nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education

The American Federation for Children issued the following statement upon the nomination of Betsy DeVos as the nation’s 11th U.S. Secretary of Education. Most recently, DeVos has served the chairman of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice.

John F. Kirtley, vice chairman of the American Federation for Children said:

“We applaud President-elect Donald Trump for choosing and placing his trust in Betsy DeVos to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Education. For more than 20 years, Betsy has fought relentlessly for the right of every child – especially disadvantaged children – to receive a quality education of their parents’ choice. We are confident Betsy will take the same passion, commitment and leadership she’s shown in the school choice movement to the helm of the U.S. Department of Education.”

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The 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.

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Wisconsin Voters Return Bipartisan School Choice Majorities to Madison

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice touted significant wins tonight in Wisconsin, showing that parents and communities across the state are embracing education reform and are defending parents’ fundamental right to choose the school that is best for their children.

In races that AFC actively participated in with independent expenditures, candidates won all six of six. AFC also supported an additional 35 candidates through direct contributions, where 34 candidates have won, with the last race still too close to call.

The American Federation for Children is proud to defend and expand the ranks of school choice supporters in the Wisconsin Legislature. Legislators will go into the next legislative session with bipartisan majorities in favor of school choice in both houses.

These victories come despite considerable spending by the opposition. The Greater Wisconsin Committee spent over $179,000 running attack ads against Rep. Todd Novak for his support of school choice. Former Representative Mandy Wright, Jack Redmond, Jeff Wright, David Gorski, and Alicia Leinberger made villainizing school choice a central theme of their campaign. The voters in these swing districts rejected this antiquated approach to education and supported candidates who believe every child deserves to attend the school that best meets their needs.

“We know parents want their children to have access to the best education possible,” said Justin Moralez of the American Federation for Children. “Tonight’s election results reflect our state wide polling from earlier this year showing a majority of Wisconsinites support school choice.” A May 2016 poll showed54% of likely Wisconsin voters support the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.

Our survey data backed up the conclusion of a recently released internal Democratic memo showing many Democrats support school choice,” remarked Moralez.

Tonight’s election results, and the results of the August primaries, demonstrate that Democrats in competitive races, who opposed school choice, lost big.

“After twenty-six years of choice in Wisconsin, it appears time to finally put the debate to rest. The voters clearly believe school choice is working,” stated Moralez.

Final election results can be found here.

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