Strong School Choice Majorities Elected to Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate

Nov 07, 2012, 12:06 ET from American Federation for Children

MADISON, Wis., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Voters in Wisconsin last night elected a coalition of legislative candidates who strongly support expanding educational choices in the Badger State, creating strong majorities in both the state Assembly and Senate who favor educational choice.

The American Federation for Children—the nation's voice for educational choice—praised the results as a significant step forward for educational choice supporters across Wisconsin.

"The voters in Wisconsin have elected a broad coalition of leaders that support current and expanded educational options for Badger State families," said Kevin P. Chavous, senior advisor to the American Federation for Children.  "These strong victories offer hope to families across the state that soon they will enjoy the benefits of educational choices."

Despite strong and unfounded attacks by opponents of educational choice, voters demonstrated their support for giving parents expanded educational options.

Rep. Travis Tranel (R) won re-election by over eight percentage points in a swing seat even though he was attacked for his support of educational choice with thousands of dollars of negative ads on cable television and radio.

Rick Gudex (R) provided a key victory by defeating Sen. Jessica King, who routinely criticized educational choice and Gudex's support for it in candidate forums, thereby helping to flip the Senate and give a majority to educational choice supporters in the chamber.

"Negative campaigns against educational choice advocates did not work, and yesterday's results prove that," Chavous said. "Voters of all political stripes strongly support expanding educational options."

Wisconsin is home the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the nation's longest running voucher program, which served more than 23,190 students during the 2011-12 school year. Last year, Wisconsin also expanded school choice to Racine, where demand for seats in choice schools has exceeded the first and second year enrollment caps.

An independent, gold-standard evaluation of the Milwaukee voucher program demonstrated a higher on-time graduation rate—by more than seven percentage points—of participating students over students attending Milwaukee Public Schools.

Across the country, 32 publicly-funded private school choice programs have been enacted—five of them in 2012—in 16 states and Washington, D.C. This year, it is anticipated that approximately 250,000 children will participate in these programs.

SOURCE American Federation for Children