March of Milwaukee students to suburban schools hits 8,000

Alan Borsuk:

Every school day, more than 8,000 children who live in the city of Milwaukee head off to school in Milwaukee suburbs.

I think of that as the equivalent of, say, six high schools or 16 elementary schools that are serving Milwaukee kids outside the city lines. That has a lot of impact, even as the complex picture of city-suburban school choice continues to evolve.

This is one form of evolution that Gov. Scott Walker is, presumably, willing to speak his mind on because his proposed state budget calls for ending the voluntary racial integration program known as Chapter 220, which is the oldest of the city-suburban programs.

But the story of city kids going to suburban schools actually has three chapters. In addition to 220, there is extensive use of the state’s open enrollment law and growing use of a provision, now four years old, that allows city kids to attend suburban religious schools.

Here’s a primer on these three often-overlooked but important aspects of educating the children of Milwaukee.

Related: where have all the students gone?