WILL Press Release | New WILL Study Shows $500 Million Economic Benefit of Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

 In Education Reform, Press Releases, WILL News

First-of-its-kind study shows how higher graduation rates, lower criminality of Milwaukee Parental Choice Program provide substantial economic impact

December 15, 2016 – Milwaukee, WI – The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has a nearly $500 million realized economic impact on the state, city, and students, according to a newly released study from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. The first-of-its-kind study in Milwaukee used data from other academic studies showing higher graduation rates and lower criminality rates associated with the MPCP and ran economic modeling on that data to arrive at their conclusion.

Says WILL’s Education Policy Director, Will Flanders, Ph.D., author of the study, “The debate over school choice is almost always focused on the so-called costs.  What we want to show is the other side of the ledger, the economic benefits of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, and how higher graduation rates and lower criminality is associated with earning a better job and being less reliant on government programs and welfare.”

The study is also co-authored by Corey DeAngelis, a doctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas.

Among the conclusions of the study:

  • By 2035, because of higher high school graduation rates, students who use a voucher in the MPCP will generate $473 million economic benefits to Wisconsin more than similar students at MPS. Graduating from high school is associated with being more likely to earn a higher income throughout life – which results in more tax revenue, less likely to need expensive, government-funded medical care, and a lower likelihood of being reliant on welfare.
  • By 2035, in total, because of less crime committed, students who use a voucher in the MPCP will generate $26 million more economic benefit than similar students at MPS. By 2035, because of fewer felonies, students who use a voucher in the MPCP will generate a $24 million benefit and because of fewer misdemeanors, students who use a voucher in the MPCP will generate $1.7 million more economic benefit to Wisconsin. Less crime committed is associated with fewer police officers hired, less crime victims and the costs associated with crime victimization, and less resources spent on the criminal justice system such as incarceration.
  • High-performing schools also create a substantial economic benefit to Milwaukee. In the next 20 years, children at St. Marcus Lutheran Schools will generate an aggregate benefit of about $7 million due to the school’s low incarceration rate and $64 million due to their high graduation rate. The use of the Lee facilities would have doubled that benefit. Other high quality schools —both in and out of the MPCP — have significant economic benefits as well.

“These are exciting numbers to see,” remarked WILL president and general counsel, Rick Esenberg. “It is further evidence that policymakers in Madison, if they want to improve education in Milwaukee, should focus on expanding the number of seats at high-performing schools and children in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.”

The report is available for download here.

The report was accompanied by a video profiling St. Marcus Lutheran Schools and can be viewed here.

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