The second year reports of the legislatively mandated longitudinal study of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) are out. Despite what the headline writers at the Journal Sentinel say, there is more to this than just Choice students and MPS students are performing at roughly the same level. Dig a little deeper and look what you find:
1. All school children in Milwaukee are doing better because of the Milwaukee School Choice Program (MPCP). Patrick Wolf, principal investigator of the School Choice Demonstration Project, remarked that the Choice Program “has produced a rising tide that has lifted all boats”. Back when the program started, many involved hoped competition would help MPS improve.
2. John Witte, “the nation’s foremost academic authority on the MPCP”, reports that, among a large group of MPCP and MPS students statistically matched for reporting purposes, the “achievement growth in the MPCP panel tended to be somewhat higher than the average achievement growth in the MPS panel”. Witte does caution that the comparisons at this point are preliminary but it is still worth noting.
3. For the second year in a row, Choice students trailed their counterparts at MPS on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) in the 4th grade but by the 8th grade the Choice students scored higher on the test. Choice kids seem to be trending the right way.
We will have much more to say on this topic in the days to come…
All of the reports can be found here: http://www.uaedreform.org/SCDP/Milwaukee_Research.html
School Choice Wisconsin put out this release: http://www.schoolchoicewi.org/currdev/detail.cfm?id=296