The remarkable series in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel concluded over the weekend with profiles of three voucher schools that, the paper asserts, illustrate the status of the program. This excerpt is from the final piece and illustrates the evenhandedness and confident analysis that characterized the series throughout.
Fifteen years after its launch, Milwaukee’s pioneering private school voucher program is like Bruce Guadalupe School: It is vibrant, growing and sometimes excellent. The program is also like Urban Day School: It is working hard but struggling to make progress in educating the city’s children. And the program is like Harambee School: It has schools where even good intentions and promise have led to troubling, even alarming, results.
…..It brought satisfaction to many parents who like the idea of having private school options, who want religious schools for their children, who want the small classes and intimacy that many of the voucher schools offer. It has shaken up the status quo for all schools in the city. But the warts–in the form of problem schools that parents continue to select, year after year—have persisted. And given the great range in quality among the 115 schools….no one knows whether vouchers will help address the urgent need for a better educated generation of urban school children.
–Guestblogger Richard Lee Colvin