ERIC Number: ED383041
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Given the Choice: A Study of the PAVE Program and School Choice in Milwaukee. Policy Study No. 183.
Beales, Janet R.; Wahl, Maureen
In response to declining student performance in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), the Wisconsin State Legislature and the private sector each created programs to give school choice to low-income students. In 1990-91 the Legislature implemented the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP). About 750 students received government-funded tuition vouchers in 1993-94 to attend any one of a dozen nonreligious private schools in Milwaukee. In 1992, business and religious organizations joined to establish Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE), a privately funded school-choice program for low-income students. Unlike the MPCP, PAVE's tuition scholarships may be used at any private school in Milwaukee, including religious schools. PAVE served approximately 2,370 students enrolled in 102 private schools during the 1993-94 school year. This document presents findings of a study that compared the two programs. Data were obtained from parent surveys and student-academic records. Findings indicate that PAVE students outperformed both MPCP and MPS students on standardized tests, and that 57 percent of PAVE families were headed by a single parent. PAVE students who had previously been enrolled in private schools and PAVE students who had previously been enrolled in public schools held nearly identical demographic characteristics. However, PAVE students from private schools performed significantly better on standardized tests. Parents from both programs cited educational quality as the most important reason for choosing a school, followed by discipline and general atmosphere. PAVE parents and MPCP parents were both very satisfied with the amount their children learned in school, though PAVE parents were slightly more satisfied. Students of diverse religions used PAVE scholarships, but PAVE tended to enroll more white students. PAVE schools also had better retention rates than MPCP schools. It is recommended that promoters of school-choice programs improve information dissemination to reach the "mainstream" low-income public-school parents. Fifteen tables are included. Appendices contain survey data. (LMI)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Persistence, Access to Education, Educational Vouchers, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Minority Groups, Parent Attitudes, Private Education, School Choice, Tuition
Reason Foundation, 3415 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034 ($15).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, CA.