Study: MPS Performance Does Not Mirror Spending Track

The city of Milwaukee is spending more on education every year – but in some cases, getting less out of its students that it did in 1990. A new release by School Choice Wisconsin showcases an escalating trend of funding for MPS schools while enrollments decline and test scores show at best minor improvements (and in many cases outright declines). Click on the thumbnail below to view School Choice Wisconsin’s chart:

Each student in the Milwaukee Public School system accounts for $15,373 in funding for the 2010-2011 school year. This is a 54.2 percent increase over where this figure stood in 1990. This escalation comes thanks to boosts in state aid and property tax support, which both showed substantial increases in this time span – including a 133 percent raise in Nominal State Aid.

While per-pupil spending has gone up by over 50 percent through the past two decades, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing data shows a decrease in math scores of 1.8 percent amongst Wisconsin’s fourth grade students. Reading scores using the same testing mechanism tracked a positive trend of just 6.6 percent over this same span.

Milwaukee, a city that has historically produced low test results on the state’s standardized Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Examination (WKCE) exams, is likely lagging behind these results, which show minimal gains, at best.

Public school students in Milwaukee will have an annual cost of $15,373 for the 2010-2011 school year–a high cost for the below average academic performance than has become standard for MPS.

The study shows that residents of Milwaukee, and indeed the entire State of Wisconsin continue to make significant investments in the education of Milwaukee’s public school students.

The study also supports the argument that taxpayers are not seeing a healthy return on that investment.

By Christian D’Andrea
Education Reform Analyst, MacIver Institute