Giving Compass' Take:

· Corey A. DeAngelis and Patrick J. Wolf share what they have learned after evaluating the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. According to the authors, the research shows that school choice and voucher programs help students avoid run-ins with the law and unplanned pregnancies. 

· What is the current status of school choice and voucher programs in the US? How can donors support efforts to expand access to voucher programs? 

· Read more about the progress of school choice and how it is lifting thousands of students across America


Schools are expected to help shape the character skills needed to live a good life and contribute to society. In theory, programs that help families send their children to a private school could improve character skills through exposure to peers and school cultures that discourage risky behaviors. Do private school choice programs actually help achieve this goal? Our just-released evaluation of the longest-running modern school voucher program in the United States—the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP)—suggests that they do.

The study updates and extends our previous work on the same program with new data, including information on students’ criminal activity and involvement in paternity disputes as young adults. We gathered these data in fall 2018, when the 2,178 students we have been following in a longitudinal evaluation of the MPCP were roughly 25 to 28 years old. Half of these students were using vouchers to attend a private school in 8th or 9th grade in 2006; the rest are a carefully matched sample of students who attended Milwaukee Public Schools. Comparing the outcomes of these two groups reveals how exposure to the MPCP at that time affected students’ later outcomes, regardless of how long students initially using vouchers remained enrolled in private schools.

Read the full article about school choice by Corey A. DeAngelis and Patrick J. Wolf at the Cato Institute.