Barriers to School Choice


Did you know that statewide choice students outperform their public-school peers by 3.2% in ELA and 2.1% in math? It is no wonder that their enrollment continues to increase compared to traditional public schools. However, it can be a lengthy and complicated process for parents to enroll their children in a choice program. That’s largely due to the many bureaucratic obstacles that are currently in place such as income limits, restrictive enrollment periods, grade-level entry points and regulatory requirements. 

Income Limits  

Not all families in Wisconsin have access to a parental choice program because of income limits that determine eligibility. Not only are the income limits restrictive (as a family of four in the statewide program cannot earn more than $58,300), but they are inconsistent. For instance, family incomes must be within 300% of the federal poverty limit in order to participate in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and Racine Parental Choice Program. But for the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, also known as the statewide program, family incomes must be within 220% of the federal poverty limit.