MADISON –Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association – recognized National School Choice Week Jan. 22-28. In celebrating School Choice Week, WMC called on policymakers to further empower parents and equally fund students, no matter what type of school they attend.
“Wisconsin employers need a talented and well-prepared workforce, but the current education system is failing students, parents and the business community,” said WMC Executive Vice President of Government Relations Scott Manley. “When roughly two-thirds of Wisconsin students cannot read or do math at grade level, something needs to be done.”
According to the latest Wisconsin Employer Survey – released earlier this week – the business community supports expanding educational options. In fact, 83 percent of businesses said they support universal school choice so any child can attend the school of their choosing, regardless of zip code or income.
Their support is understandable given students who attend choice and charter schools outperform their public school counterparts. A new report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty shows that students in private choice schools have proficiency rates that are 8.1% higher in English/Language Arts and 8.3% higher in Math on average than those at Milwaukee Public Schools. Statewide, choice and charter students also outperform public school students across the board.
“Policymakers should be investing in what works,” added Manley. “Strengthening school choice will empower parents and ensure we invest equally in students regardless of whether they attend a choice school or a public school.”
As employers continue to face an unprecedented workforce shortage, they have expressed concerns about how prepared students are for the workforce. That is why WMC joined other influential education, policy and advocacy organizations last year to form the Wisconsin Coalition for Education Freedom. Together, the coalition will advocate for policies that improve Wisconsin’s educational outcomes.