2005 Wisconsin Act 125 required the School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP) to conduct a five-year longitudinal study on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and Milwaukee Public Schools. As required under 2005 Wisconsin Act 125 the Legislative Audit Bureau issued a report on August 17, 2011 reviewing the 2009-2010 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination test score data submitted by the SCDP.
We analyzed and generally confirmed the analyses that they reported in March 2011, which show no significant difference in the performance of Choice pupils and similar MPS pupils after four years. However, we note that only 41.3 percent of the 2,727 Choice pupils in the researchers’ sample remained in Choice schools in the 2009-10 school year.
This information is not new and reconfirms previous findings of the SCDP.
In April 2010 the SCDP released a report that looked into the reasons why Milwaukee students switch schools and sectors. The researchers concluded the number one reason MPCP pupils leave the program is that the next grade level is not offered at their school. Most often, these are students graduating 8th grade who cannot find a spot in a MPCP high school.
This is not surprising. Due to inadequate funding for high schools, there are not enough high school seats in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program for all students that want to attend. In fact, for the first time last year the number of 9th grade seats in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program declined.