As Republicans consider plans for expanding access to taxpayer-funded, private-school tuition vouchers this year in Wisconsin and other states, a federal lawmaker is calling for a review of the long-standing Milwaukee voucher program.
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) has asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to scrutinize the impact and outcomes of Milwaukee’s voucher schools compared with Milwaukee Public Schools in areas such as academic achievement, special-education services and accountability practices.
In a December letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, Pocan indicated a study is appropriate now because voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs have proliferated across the country since 2001, and the Milwaukee voucher program — in place since 1990 — offers years of new data to be examined.
“We’d like to know what the strengths and weaknesses of the program are,” Pocan said in an interview. “As other states look at expanding (voucher) programs, it makes sense to have an objective study by a respected, nonpartisan agency.”
U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Dave Loebsack of Iowa — both Democrats — signed the letter as well.