Wisconsin Readies for School Voucher System

June 16, 1998


Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that taxpayer money can be used to send Milwaukee students to private schools. Milwaukee will now operate under a system where up to 15,000 students will be eligible for vouchers to attend private schools. This means that nearly $70 million will be siphoned away from Milwaukee’s already ailing public school system and put into private institutions.

Proponents of so-called school choice say the decision will completely transform education, letting parents choose where to send their children. They say it’s a revitalization of parochial schools. Opponents say it’s yet another attack on Milwaukee’s public school system and a breakdown of democratic principles. What’s more, on the issue of school choice, Wisconsin has been a pioneer. Wisconsin was the first state to adopt a voucher plan that included religious schools. Wisconsin is considered the leading state in so-called welfare reform. Gov. Thompson has been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike for his pledges to "end welfare as we know it."


  • Phil Wilayto, the Coordinator of the Job is a Right Campaign based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The organization works on a wide range of issues affecting poor and working people. He is also the author of "The Feeding Trough: The Bradley Foundation, The Bell Curve and the Real Story Behind W-2, Wisconsin’s National Model for Welfare Reform," an investigative report about who is behind welfare reform and school choice in Wisconsin and why.