School choice in Wisconsin

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School choice refers to the educational alternatives available to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local district public school to which they are assigned. Public school choice options include open enrollment policies, magnet schools and charter schools. Other options include traditional school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, personal tax credits and deductions and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which allow parents to receive public funds directly for educational expenses.[1][2]

School choice options in Wisconsin include: charter schools, parental choice voucher programs, private school tuition tax deductions, homeschooling, online learning, private schools and public school open enrollment policies.

Educational choice options

See also: Number of schools by school type in the U.S.

Charter schools

Charter schools were first authorized in Wisconsin in 1993.[3] During the 2012-2013 school year, there were 238 charter schools in the state.[4]

Charter school authorizers are, according to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the organizations "designated to approve, monitor, renew, and, if necessary, close charter schools." As of June 2014, the following organizations were listed by NACSA as charter school authorizers in Wisconsin:[5]

Wisconsin charter school authorizers
Organization Authorizer type Number of schools overseen
Appleton School District Local education agency 15
Augusta School District Local education agency 1
Barron Area School District Local education agency 3
Beloit School District Local education agency 1
Birchwood Public Schools Local education agency 2
Black River Falls Public Schools Local education agency 1
Blair-Taylor School District Local education agency 1
Butternut School District Local education agency 1
Cambridge School District Local education agency 1
Cameron School District Local education agency 1
Chequamegon School District Local education agency 1
Chetek-Weyerhaeuser School District Local education agency 1
Columbus School District Local education agency 1
Crandon School District Local education agency 1
Cumberland School District Local education agency 2
D.C. Everest Area School District Local education agency 1
Denmark School District Local education agency 1
Eau Claire Area School District Local education agency 2
Elkhorn Area School District Local education agency 1
Flambeau School District Local education agency 2
Fond du Lac School District Local education agency 1
Gillet School District Local education agency 1
Glenwood City School District Local education agency 1
Grantsburg School District Local education agency 1
Green Bay Area Public School District Local education agency 1
Green Lake School District Local education agency 1
Greendale School District Local education agency 1
Hartland Lakeside School District Local education agency 2
Hayward Community School Local education agency 3
Highland School District Local education agency 3
Hortonville Area School District Local education agency 1
Janesville School District Local education agency 4
Kaukauna Area School District Local education agency 2
Kenosha Unified School District Local education agency 4
Kettle Moraine School District Local education agency 2
Kiel Area School District Local education agency 2
Kimberly Area School District Local education agency 2
La Crosse School District Local education agency 5
Ladysmith-Hawkins School District Local education agency 1
Lena Public School District Local education agency 1
Little Chute Area School District Local education agency 1
Lodi School District Local education agency 2
Madison Metropolitan School District Local education agency 3
Manitowoc Public School District Local education agency 2
Marathon City School District Local education agency 1
Marshall School District Local education agency 1
Mauston School District Local education agency 1
McFarland School District Local education agency 1
Medford Area Public Schools Local education agency 1
Mellen School District Local education agency 1
Mercer School District Local education agency 1
Merrill Area Public Schools Local education agency 3
Middleton-Cross Plains School District Local education agency 2
Milwaukee Common Council Non-educational government entity 9
Milwaukee Public Schools Local education agency 29
Minocqua J1 School District Local education agency 2
Monona Grove School District Local education agency 1
Monroe School District Local education agency 3
Montello School District Local education agency 2
Mukwonago Area School District Local education agency 1
Neenah Joint School District Local education agency 1
Nekoosa School District Local education agency 1
New Lisbon School District Local education agency 1
New London School District Local education agency 1
New Richmond School District Local education agency 1
Northern Ozaukee School District Local education agency 1
Northwood School District Local education agency 2
Oak Creek-Franklin School District Local education agency 1
Oconto Falls School District Local education agency 2
Oconto Unified School District Local education agency 1
Osceola School District Local education agency 1
Oshkosh Area School District Local education agency 4
Portage Community School District Local education agency 3
Racine Unified School District Local education agency 1
Rhinelander School District Local education agency 3
Rice Lake Area School District Local education agency 1
Ripon School District Local education agency 4
River Falls School District Local education agency 2
Sauk Prairie School District Local education agency 1
Shawano School District Local education agency 1
Sheboygan Area School District Local education agency 11
Shiocton School District Local education agency 1
Shorewood School District Local education agency 1
Sparta Area School District Local education agency 4
Stevens Point Area School District Local education agency 2
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Higher education institution 11
University of Wisconsin-Parkside Higher education institution 1
Verona Area School District Local education agency 3
Viroqua Area School District Local education agency 2
Waukesha School District Local education agency 6
Waupun School District Local education agency 1
Wausau Area School District Local education agency 3
Wauwatosa School District Local education agency 1
West Allis School District Local education agency 1
West De Pere School District Local education agency 1
Weyauwega-Fremont School District Local education agency 1
Whitewater Unified School District Local education agency 1
Whitnall School District Local education agency 1
Wisconsin Rapids Public School District Local education agency 4
Note: If the total number of charter schools accounted for in this table differs from the total number listed elsewhere on this page, the discrepancy owes to differing calculation methods and data sources.
Source: National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Wisconsin Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014

Parental choice programs

Two Wisconsin school districts, Milwaukee Public Schools and Racine Unified School District, have parental choice programs. There is also a statewide parental choice program that launched in 2013 for students living outside the Milwaukee and Racine school districts. Both the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and the Parental Private School Choice Program in Racine give private school vouchers to students whose families earn up to 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The statewide parental choice program gives vouchers to students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.[6]

Tuition deduction program

Wisconsin offers a tax deduction for any family paying for private school tuition, up to $4,000 for students in kindergarten through eighth grade and up to $10,000 for students in high school.[6]

Homeschooling

An estimated 19,332 students were home-schooled in Wisconsin during the 2012-2013 school year, which represented approximately two percent of all students in the state.[7]

Home schools in Wisconsin are called home-based educational programs. They must be provided to a child by a parent, a guardian or a person designated by a parent or guardian. Home-based educational programs cannot constitute more than one family unit.[8][9]

Online learning

Wisconsin has a number of online learning opportunities, including full-time options and supplemental options. There were 29 fully online schools authorized to operate during the 2013-2014 school year. Online charter schools served 6,146 students in the 2012-2013 school year, which was a 37 percent increase from the previous school year.[10]

Private Schools

In the 2011-2012 school year 119,036 students, or 13.68 percent of school age children, were enrolled in 799 private schools. Wisconsin ranks ninth highest in the U.S. in private school attendance.[11]

Public school open enrollment

Wisconsin's open-enrollment program allows for students to attend school in a school district other than the one in which they reside. Any student from kindergarten through 12th grade may apply. However, students cannot apply for individual schools. Students may request to be placed in a particular public or charter school, but the placement is not guaranteed. This program does not allow for intra-district enrollment, which is transferring from one school to another within the same district.[12][13]

Studies and reports

ABCs of school choice

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice publishes a comprehensive guide to private school choice programs across the U.S. In its 2014 edition, the Foundation reviewed four Wisconsin programs: the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the Racine Parental Private School Choice Program, the statewide Parental Choice Program and the K-12 Private School Tuition Deduction Program.[6] The full Friedman Foundation report can be found here.

Education ballot measures

See also: School choice on the ballot and List of Wisconsin ballot measures


Ballotpedia staff have tracked no statewide ballot measures relating to school choice in Wisconsin.

Recent news

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See also

External links

References

  1. National Conference of State Legislatures, "School Choice and Charters," accessed June 18, 2014
  2. Friedman Foundation for School Choice, "What is School Choice?" accessed June 18, 2014
  3. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Charter Schools in Wisconsin," accessed November 13, 2009
  4. National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, "Total Number of Schools: 2012-2013 Wisconsin," accessed June 26, 2014
  5. National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Wisconsin Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014]
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, "The ABCs of School Choice," 2014 Edition
  7. A2Z Home's Cool - Home Education from A to Z, "How Many Homeschoolers in America?" updated February 3, 2014
  8. A2Z Home's Cool - Home Education from A to Z, "Wisconsin Home School Laws," accessed June 26, 2014
  9. Wisconsin Statutes, "Section 115.001," accessed June 26, 2014
  10. Keeping Pace with K-12 Online & Blended Learning, "Data & Information: Wisconsin," accessed June 26, 2014
  11. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "Private School Universe Survey (PSS)", 2011-12 ; "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey", 2011-12 v.1a; "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a., accessed May 12, 2014.
  12. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Public School Open Enrollment," accessed July 13, 2009
  13. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Public School Choice (open enrollment)," accessed July 9, 2009