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ERIC Number: EJ985351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Special Choices
Wolf, Patrick J.; Witte, John F.; Fleming, David J.
Education Next, v12 n3 p16-22 Sum 2012
Critics of voucher programs often argue that private schools do exclude most disabled students, and the matter occasionally has been the subject of litigation. Yet accurate information on students with disabilities served by private schools is notable for its absence. According to the authors, in 2006, the State of Wisconsin authorized their research team to conduct a five-year evaluation of Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), the largest and longest-running school-voucher program in the country. The MPCP, first established in 1990 and steadily expanded to include more private schools and more students in subsequent years, now serves more than 23,000 students who attend 107 different private schools. Through the course of that study, they collected a wealth of data about the students in the voucher program and in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) that permit them to estimate what proportion of the voucher student population would qualify for special education if the students were enrolled in public schools instead. Drawing on different sources of data and various analytic methods, they estimate that anywhere between 7.5 and 14.6 percent of voucher students have disabilities that would land them in special education were they in public schools. That rate compares to the national public-school rate of student disability of 12 percent and the official student disability rate reported by MPS of 19 percent. Their estimates are at least four times higher than the 1.6 percent disability rate among voucher students in Milwaukee reported by the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction (DPI), a figure that gave rise to a lawsuit alleging discrimination by the MPCP program. In this article, the authors discuss the procedures they followed to obtain their estimates and explain the disparity between their estimates and the ones DPI has provided. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin