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Expansions to the nation’s oldest private school choice program are giving thousands more Wisconsin families a choice in their child’s education, according to the School Choice Yearbook 2011-12—the annual award-winning publication offering the most comprehensive data on the nation’s 27 private school choice programs—released by the Alliance for School Choice.
A total of 23,198 children are receiving scholarships to attend the school of their parents’ choice thanks to the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which last year underwent its most significant expansions since it became the first publicly funded private school choice program ever back in 1990.
Among the new provisions in the voucher program are the removal of the cap on the number of student participants, rules allowing schools across the states to accept program participants, expanded enrollment to benefit children from middle-class families, and—with a Democratic-sponsored provision known as “Once In, Always In”—a guarantee that participating families can remain in the program regardless of future income growth.
Legislators in the Badger State also created a new program in the city of Racine. Signed into law in June 2011, the Racine Parental Choice Program, which is modeled after the highly successful Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, enrolls almost 250 students after only a short enrollment period last summer. The two programs in Wisconsin are among seven new programs and 11 expanded programs nationwide.
“Wisconsin’s school choice expansions represent years of hard work on behalf of kids,” said Yearbook coauthor Malcom Glenn, the national communications director at the Alliance. “The gains in Milwaukee and Racine are an integral part of what made 2011 such a breakthrough year.”
The Alliance’s annual Yearbook, entitled School Choice Now: The Year of School Choice, is a collection of the nation’s most accurate data on publicly funded private school choice programs across the country. It features analysis of trends and information regarding school choice, a directory of the accountability provisions and requirements for each of the 27 private school choice programs, and a chronicle of the events from the past year.