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0916, 17 Apr 18

Study: Private Schools Outperform Public Schools in Wisconsin

Here’s an interesting study from WILL:

April 17, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released its second annual report comparing school academic performance across Wisconsin, Apples to Apples.  In this new peer-reviewed study, control variables—such as student economic status and demographics—are included to level the playing field and make the clearest possible comparisons between schools for policymakers and parents.

Also included for the first time is WILL’s Performance Ranking, which ranks the performance of every K-12 school in the state from all sectors while controlling for socio-economic status.  The searchable database is available here:

Some of the findings include:

  • Private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) outperform Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Students in the MPCP were about 4 percentage points more likely to score proficient or above in mathematics and 5 percentage points more likely to score proficient or above in reading.

    • This performance advantage is driven by Catholic and Lutheran private schools.
  • Both independent and non-instrumentality charters have higher proficiency rates than MPS.  Students in non-instrumentality charter schools were about 12 percentage points more likely to be proficient in reading and 15 percentage points more likely to be proficient in math than traditional public school students.  Independent charter school students were about 5 percentage points more likely to be proficient in reading and 8 percentage points in math.

  • Statewide, schools in the state’s voucher programs outperform traditional public schools in reading. No differences were found in math.  This is the first time a positive association has been found between choice programs overall in Wisconsin and academic outcomes.

  • Rural and small town schools perform worse than urban schools. Rural schools have significantly lower performance on the Forward Exam in both math and reading than urban schools.

    • Suburban schools outperform rural, small town, and urban schools


0916, 17 April 2018


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    And in other news…water is wet.

    Why we put up with underperforming public school monopoly is thr real question.

  2. dad29

    Wait, Kevin.  Foust has not yet commented and demonstrated that all those figures are merely a figment of imagination.

  3. Pat

    Wow! Dud’s trolling.

  4. MHMaley

    The figures make perfect sense.
    Take out the problem children and have them attend Public schools and the test scores will always be higher , especially in parochial schools
    ( that the study says boosts the average )

  5. Kevin Scheunemann

    Test scores are higher because students get a spiritual education as well.

    Liberals tie the hands of public school to teach the most important subject! It carries over to other learning!

  6. Le Roi du Nord

    “Test scores are higher because students get a spiritual education as well.”

    Let’s see the proof of that.

  7. Mike

    Having engaged parents that take the trouble to supervise their children’s education probably helps the scores too. Most private schools make parental participation mandatory.

  8. dad29

    L’il Patsy showed up!

    The publick screwels are not too enthusiastic about parental participation because parents ask questions and raise objections.  Makes those ‘conferences’ run too long.

  9. Mark Hoefert

    I would assume that with mandatory parent participation at most private schools there is an expectation of mandatory teacher engagement, specifically when it comes to communication.  Inconsistent communications were cited in a communications audit recently conducted by our school district.

  10. jjf

    Dad29, I’ll ask the same question I asked when I presented the results you’d touted before – the ones that showed the charter schools were doing worse on the same test.

    Can anyone explain the difference? If this is all about finding greater success for students, can’t we analyze why one school succeeds when another doesn’t?

    Although I’ve worked side-by-side with WILL on common interests, I do not forget that they’re a highly partisan tank, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see criticism of their study from other fronts.

  11. Le Roi du Nord

    “The publick screwels are not too enthusiastic about parental participation because parents ask questions and raise objections”.

    Maybe where you live, but certainly not up here.  Parental involvement and participation is encouraged and appreciated.  It is a shame it doesn’t work that way in your district.

  12. Kevin Scheunemann


    That is why school choice is a great thing, if school is unresponsive in their area, parents can choose to go to another.

    Liberals want to force everyone to a one size fits all.   Why are liberals anti-choice?

  13. jjf

    Why does the state Constitution provide for public schools?

  14. dad29

    John Foust, I can think of one good reason that private schools are able to get more out of the little darlings:  discipline.  Screw up?  You’ll be very, very, sorry.

    Try that in ANY publick screwel…..

  15. Jason

    jjf, the state constitution also provides for the Right to keep and bear arms for any lawful purpose.   Based on some recent comments of yours, I find it hypocritical in the extreme that you’re referencing it now but ignoring it then.  It’s also disingenuous that on the one hand you want the ability to re-interpret the wording, and in this hand you don’t.  AR15’s are not mentioned, only that any arms are allowed for lawful purposes.   Using your approach, maybe we should re-interpret the wording of “public schools”, no?

  16. Le Roi du Nord


    You bet, kids in dads district can use school choice to attend the fine public school in my district.  Or any of the five fine districts in our county. No need for an expensive private school.

  17. jjf

    Dad29, again, do you have any evidence that “discipline” is the reason behind the difference?  Do you care to define what it means, and show me that the schools you think are doing well are actually using anything like what you imagine? Was “discipline” also the reason behind the poor showing in the previous study you mentioned?

    Jason, I don’t think I’m being hypocritical. Somehow the state has managed to create and refine all sorts of restrictions on your right to bear arms. If you’d like to tell me your explanation for why the state Constitution provides for public schools, go ahead.

  18. Le Roi du Nord

    N=2491 and N=30, that study isn’t even relevant in WI let alone the country.  And look at the source of the data, a religious group.  I would have gotten laughed out of Dr. Jowetts  stats class if I tried to pull that stunt.

  19. Kevin Scheunemann


    Look at you go, dismissing science and evidence for your godless discipleship.

    You are welcome to your godless religion, just remember it tends to stunt your learning.

  20. Le Roi du Nord


    You are fabricating again.  I brought up the insufficient N to make this valid.  I didn’t mention science anywhere.  If my learning is so stunted, why did I see the flaw in the statistical analysis and you didn’t? Or didn’t you even look at the underlying study?

    The is no “godless religion”.

  21. Kevin Scheunemann


    I have been through stats, 30 is still considered a large sample.   Are you also arguing that 2500 is a small sample?

    I missed that part in stats class.

  22. dad29

    Foust, the author of the study spent some time on the radio today.  He mentioned that unlike MPS, the Choice schools which are religious-affiliated do not have a curriculum ‘imposed by Central Office’–that is, they have a more flexible set of offerings.

    Further, the study demonstrates that there is a difference in performance between religiously-affiliated Choice schools and those which are not, with the religious ones FAR out-performing the “nons.”

    Finally, charter schools affiliated with MPS do not perform as well as charter schools otherwise affiliated (e.g., UW-Milwaukee.)

    Hope that helps.

  23. dad29

    And look at the source of the data, a religious group.

    I think Esenberg would laugh you out of the room if you’re calling his group (WILL) “religious.”  But you couldn’t be THAT out of touch, seeing as you’re an elected official, right??

  24. Le Roi du Nord


    You need to read for comprehension not just knee-jerk reaction.  The report k referred to and I was commenting on was written by a woman, and the data came from a religious group (National Study for Youth and Religion).  Dr. Jowett would laugh you out of stats class just after he woke you up.

  25. Le Roi du Nord


    That all depends on what you are trying to prove or disprove.  N of 30 is a large sample if the population is 40.  But to extrapolate that to anything resembling private vs public school students is silly.  Ditto with 2491.


  26. dad29

    Ah, yes, with funding from the Notorious Religionist Lilly Endowment and the equally-Religionist U of North Carolina.

    Because, ya’know, people with Religion-disease cannot be objective.  Only elected people can be objective.  Like Hillary Clinton.  She was elected.

  27. Kevin Scheunemann


    There are a ton of studies with a liberal bias that have a lot less of a “sample”, yet liberals take those studies as unquestioned, holy, gospel, to the liberal religion.

    Why don’t you afford the same unquestioning bias here?

    Sounds like you are a “hater” of the truth.

  28. Le Roi du Nord


    Well, we aren’t talking about those studies are we?  You and dad have an agenda so you stick with it under any and all circumstances.  The acquisition of knowledge isn’t important.

  29. jjf

    So if we just add some not-yet-defined “discipline” and give schools more flexibility in curriculum, we’ll fix it all?

    Or if we added even more discipline and authority and more localized power over curriculum (concentrated where, at what level, as guided by subsidiarius) and less oversight of curriculum by those paying the bills we’d have even more success?

  30. dad29

    Buh-Bye, Foustie.

  31. Kevin Scheunemann


    We’ll fix it all, by geting government out of the operation and management business when it comes to schools.

    That will allow the factors that allow kids to thrive, the teaching of spiritual values, which are verboten in government operated schools, a better chance to thrive.

  32. Pat


    Would you be able to define what specific spiritual values should be taught?

  33. Kevin Scheunemann


    The spiritual values the parents decide by sending them to the school they choose.

    I view schools to be decentralized, and like a variety restaurants in the future, and completely away from the 18th century model the public schools utilize today.   Unless we keep throwing money at a government monopoly model designed to get gets to shut up, sit still, for 19th century industrial revolution factory work.

    In some cases, because of technology, schools without buildings.   We end up paying our rock star teachers like movie stars because the best can be delivered by internet these days.

    The failed 19th century government schools model inhibits the market from properly working.


  34. Le Roi du Nord


    What is the “18th century model” ?  And how is it similar to public schools of the 21st Century?

  35. Pat

    “The spiritual values the parents decide by sending them to the school they choose.”

    But can’t parents do that now? My parents did.

  36. Le Roi du Nord

    As did mine.

  37. jjf

    Come on, certainly we must be able to explain the differences claimed in this study. We get so close to an answer to fixing the education of the youths, and we run away now? “Discipline,” but no explanation of what that is? “Flexible curriculum,” but no way to show what “flexible” means?

  38. Kevin Scheunemann

    You guys seem like lost puppies on this science.

  39. Le Roi du Nord


    You don’t believe in science, so what is your point?

  40. Kevin Scheunemann


    I believe in good science. I do not subscribe to leftist religion pretending to be science: global warming, evolution, Big Bang, abortion on demand, perversion of biological gender, worship of big government for grant money, etc.

  41. jjf

    Lost puppies on the science? We’ve heard what Dad29 thinks are the reasons why a type of school does better according to this study, but he had no explanation for the previous contradictory test results he himself quoted.  So give us your explanation, Kevin.

    I’m all for the science and the evidence. If someone has a secret for improving schools, to me it’s useful and frankly independent of the funding argument.

    If you claim to be all about the overall improvement of children’s education, then I can hardly imagine why you’d want to claim you’ve discovered the fountain of miracles yet wouldn’t want to share it with everyone.

    So far I haven’t seen anyone here brave enough to come right out and say “Religious schools might do better because it’s effective to threaten children with a little physical intimidation compounded with religious teachings that must go unquestioned and I like these schools because they align with my own religious beliefs.”


  42. billphoto

    I believe I found a better explanation.  Reading an article about the success of voucher schools, two differences surfaced.  One, they do not have the ‘take them all’ mandate forced on public schools which reduces their cost to educate per student and the difference in policies.

    While the Obama-era school discipline policies designed to limit on-campus arrests by using alternative forms of discipline, voucher schools may choose to deal with problems differently.  To quote the Commission on Civil Rights:

    Broward County adopted a lenient disciplinary policy similar to those adopted by many other districts under pressure from the Obama administration to reduce racial “disparities” in suspensions and expulsions. . . . In many of these districts, the drive to “get our numbers right” has produced disastrous results, with startling increases in both the number and severity of disciplinary offenses, including assaults and beatings of teachers and students.

    One has to wonder what the results would be in public schools if they were not bound by these and other idiotic rules.

  43. Le Roi du Nord


    “I believe in good science.”   Yet you believe the world is 6000 years old.  Explain that contradiction, please.

  44. dad29

    they do not have the ‘take them all’ mandate forced on public schools

    Not true in Wisconsin, my friend.  Here, the law requires “take any and all” unless it is impossible to accommodate them (e.g., no elevators or ramps.)

  45. billphoto

    and how many “public” schools refuse the money?

  46. Kevin Scheunemann


    No contradiction.

    I believe an all powerful God can create something showing any characteristic, including to appear to be really old.


    Scientists could just be wrong….they have many times before.

    I just don’t subscribe to your religion when it comes to the origin of the world.

  47. billphoto

    Could the learning environment have anything to do with the difference in test scores?

    One might think those that adopted the failed racist disciplinary policies from the Obama-era may have something to do with a less than ideal learning environment.  Probably not as leftist seldom acknowledge their ideological failures.

  48. Le Roi du Nord


    So in other words you, the all-knowing kevin, can make up any set of “facts” that you want and your god will agree with you ?  I think there is a definite disconnect between real science and whatever it is you subscribe to.

  49. Kevin Scheunemann


    Godless human secularism does it all the time.

    You act like that is news.

  50. Le Roi du Nord

    If you say so.  But the rest of the sentient beings on earth disagree.

  51. Kevin Scheunemann


    I see you are an excellent evangelist for secular humanism.

  52. Le Roi du Nord


    If that is meant as an insult, you missed.  I would rather see myself as a voice for common sense, knowledge, freedom of speech, and the American Way.

  53. Kevin Scheunemann

    I was praising your vibrant secular humanism discipleship! You, and your views, should be treated as “well” as Christians in public schools and public sphere.

    we need to review all your speech for segregation of “religious” and “non-religious”. I’ve determined your speech is all religious, you should consider resigning from being dog catcher….just to be safe that secular humanism does become a state sponsored religion.

  54. Le Roi du Nord

    Sorry, I’m not the dogcatcher.  You missed again. And for you to make any determination about me is a reach, even for you.  With your absolute refusal to believe anything related to observational evidence I doubt if you could determine if the sun was shining if you were standing outside.  (Hint:  It is up here).

  55. billphoto

    Following the teachings of leftist radical Saul Alinsky rule 13, pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it is really getting boring.  How about rule 7, a tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

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