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UW-Green Bay Center for Public Affairs releases school voucher policy report

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UW-Green Bay’s Center For Public Affairs is kicking off a new series of “Policy Snapshot Reports” with a report on the hot-button issue of school vouchers.

The report, which is available online, is the first in the new CFPA series, which will offer pertinent local data on topics of interest and importance to the community. The initial Snapshot Report, “School Choice Vouchers in Green Bay: Factors to Consider,” will be followed by upcoming reports on local government performance and on education in Northeastern Wisconsin.

“Considering all of the information being released about the school choice voucher proposal championed by Gov. Walker, the CFPA has prepared this analysis of selected K-12 education data and how the Choice program has fared in Milwaukee and Racine,” said Assistant Prof. Lora Warner, director of the Center of Public Affairs. “The report presents a series of common questions and answers related to school choice and summarizes the lessons learned in Milwaukee and Racine. It presents an objective assessment of the factors that the community should consider about the Choice proposal — along with ways for citizens to contact their legislators.”

The complete Snapshot Report is available on the Center for Public Affairs’ website, http://www.uwgb.edu/cfpa/. The goal, Warner said, is to engage people in an informed debate about whether the voucher program is a good fit for the Green Bay Community. Center for Public Affairs staff, working with UW-Green Bay senior honors student Ashley Skalecki and an interdisciplinary faculty advisory team, have compiled existing data to help residents and leaders understand how school choice works and how the community might be impacted.

The school voucher report examines the factors community leaders and elected officials might consider in deciding whether to support such an initiative, along with what its impact could be in terms of education policy, funding, outcomes and more. Using publicly available data, the report analyzes the following topics:

• What is a “School Choice Voucher Program”?

• What can be learned from the Choice programs in Milwaukee and Racine?

• How well are students performing in Green Bay Area Public Schools?

• What private school opportunities are available in the Green Bay area, how well are students performing and what impact would the Choice program have on private schools?

• How might the Choice program impact the Green Bay Area Public School District?

• Does Open Enrollment currently provide students with a viable option to change schools if they so desire?

Later this year, a Snapshot Report on School Performance in Northeastern Wisconsin will delve into additional issues surrounding the quality of public education in the metropolitan areas of Brown and Outagamie counties. CFPA staff members are crunching the numbers for that area, which includes 157 schools and approximately 76,000 students.

UW-Green Bay’s Center for Public Affairs aims to enhance civic engagement and quality of life in Northeastern Wisconsin through research, opportunities for students, continuing educational programs and more. Its director, Lora Warner, was the principal investigator for the large-scale Leading Indicators for Excellence, or LIFE Study, in 2011. The unprecedented, 1 ½ year study examined a host of quality of life indicators in Northeastern Wisconsin. For more information about the CFPA and the LIFE Study, click the following links: http://www.uwgb.edu/cfpa/ http://www.lifestudy.info.

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