Hints of the Pick-Axe: The Impact of Competition on Public Schooling in Milwaukee.Report as inadecuate

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This paper describes the United States' first public voucher program, which was launched in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1990. It discusses the three phases that school competition has undergone in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) district. These phases are a period of minimal competition from 1990-95, the passage of new charter-school legislation and a dramatically expanded voucher legislation in 1995, and the city's final push into charter schooling in 1997-98, which launched increasingly visible competition. Competition has neither had any systemic effects on teaching and learning in MPS schools and classrooms, nor has the presence of limited competition refocused teachers or principals or changed how they do their jobs. Competition has produced some new efforts to raise standards, increase choices, and open new schools, albeit there is little evidence that these moves have affected classrooms. Furthermore, charters have provoked symbolic reactions from MPS and leaders of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, creating the potential for meaningful change and permitting new schools to form. The paper concludes that there is no evidence to suggest short-term market forces have ended inefficiencies in Milwaukee, although there is reason to believe competition has stoked entrepreneurial energy in MPS. (Contains 109 references.) (RJM)

Descriptors: Charter Schools, Competition, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Nontraditional Education, Program Evaluation, Program Implementation, Public Schools, School Choice

Author: Hess, Frederick M.

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=9808&id=ED444235

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