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Currently there are five publicly-funded school voucher plans

Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program Utah Special needs Scholarship Washington DC Opportunity Scholarship program Ohio's pilot EdChoice program The oldest and largest: Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP)
Available to all qualified students living in MW 2005-06 = 14217 students enrolled Voucher = $6,351 Family must be 175% or below the FPL (Federal Poverty Line) Parents have the control on the funds in school voucher systems Each family can apply their vouchers to a school of their choosing and the school gets money from the government Schools must accept any student with a voucher and if there are more applicants than space, a lottery must decide However, some said that the universal vouchers maintains inequity, because everyone has access to the vouchers (rich and poor)

The "Problems" that the voucher system solves (in theory)

Quality: Fighting the "rising tide of mediocrity" by introducing marketbased competition into the public education system Equity: Disproportionately poor students have to go to poor and under performing schools (if they go) two thirds don't do well in the tests. More than a half never graduates
Here the problem is that the schools are financed with property taxes, and if the properties are poor, the schools are poor Also, the good teachers want to go to better schools, and the young or inexperienced, or mediocre teachers go to the poor schools During discussions in 1980 about the vouchers, MPS was one of the lowest performers and it was 60% of black race and 10% latino.

Details of the MPCP

Political cleavage on school vouchers
In general, republicans support the vouchers and democrats do not School vouchers are a Republican concept of school reform



Noteson:Quinn,R.(2005).ThePoliticsofSchoolVouchers Since in 2002 there was a poll suggesting that a majority of black families supported the voucher idea, Polly Williams and Lawrence Patrick (two black elected officials) also became voucher supporters

The politics of school vouchers

The politics generally supports targeted vouchers and opposes universal vouchers This has lead to situations where white officers representing the rich, have united efforts with black officials representing the poor, in order to support the voucher system Republican Tommy Thompson tried to pass the voucher program twice, but was opposed by Polly Williams, then he convinced her and in October 1989 they proposed the voucher program together Thompson had to limit the program to Milwaukee, exclude religious schools and exclude families with incomes greater than 175% of the poverty line. It was also a time limited experiment Williams and Thompson worked together but it was very uneasy for both of them

Implementation of MPCP
In the beginning, Polly Williams had a lot of control because she had great connections and more power than Thompson In 1990 the program took effect, but it was only one of many programs in the competition for the students. If it failed, it would be closed Surprisingly, the business community was largely uninvolved Then, the republicans took over the Wisconsin legislature, and Williams was not that powerful any longer, and her connections were not that worthy any longer In 1995, the program was modified by the republicans, now with the power Raised the value of each voucher Included religious schools Eliminated the prior year attendance requirement They also tried (unsuccessfully) to expand the program to richer families Williams began to openly express her frustration and started to try to reverse the program expansion