Benefits of School Choice
5 Key Benefits
Better or equivalent educational experience
Improved Mental Health of Students
Higher likelihood of college admission, and college graduation
General societal benefit (Reduced levels of crime, higher likelihood of students achieving middle class income levels, higher likelihood of general happiness)
In a study conducted in March of 2020, research analyzed the cost-effectiveness of Wisconsin’s school choice programs through the state. Findings show that school-choice programs are between 29-30% more cost-effective than traditional public schools.
The average cost of educating a traditional Wisconsin public-school student is $14,737.
School Choice Program
According to the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, “state aid payment for a student enrolled full-time in the Parental Choice Program in grade K-8 is $8,399 and $9,045 for a student enrolled full-time in grades 9-12.
Not only does school choice offer a positive learning environment for students at a school that works best for them, it also provides these experiences at a more efficient cost to taxpayers.
Mental Health Benefits
According to the Department of Public Instruction, research proves there is a significant connection between social-emotional development, academic achievement, and mental health.
In a study titled “The Effect of School Choice on Mental Health”, research showed that private schools and choice programs lower the likelihood that individuals report having mental health issues when they develop into adults.
Additionally, findings conclude that because students can attend a school that best suits their needs, or avoid bullying and aggressive behaviors at other schools, school choice improves mental health.
REDUCTION IN CRIME
Using a combination of Wisconsin Circuit Court data and student information from the Department of Instruction, researchers have shown that those who participate in Parental Choice Programs in greater length commit less crimes.
Research shows that students who have participated in the MPCP for at least 4-5 years had a reduction in criminality rates of “75% for felonies, 56-78% for misdemeanors, and 21-50% for any criminal accusations” (DeAngelis and Wolf, 2016).
Additional research shows that simply exposing a student to a private school environment is associated with a lower general crime rate (DeAngelis and Wolf, 2019).
This article was selected by the Journal of Private Enterprise as the best academic article of 2021.
OVERALL GENERAL HAPPINESS
According to studies conducted by Princeton University and Nobel Prize winning economists, happiness does increase with wealth.
However, the level of happiness increases plateaus around 75,000 dollars per year. This is right in line with the average income for a college graduate.
Results from fiscal analysis conclude that educational choice programs are funded at a significantly lower public expense than public school systems.
The analysis looked at three of the Badger State’s four education choice programs—the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine), and the Parental Choice Program (Statewide)—and found they have saved Wisconsin taxpayers between $381.4 million and $2.2 billion through Fiscal Year 2018. This works out to a savings of between $1,065 and $6,048 per each student participating in the programs.
While educational choice programs enroll just 2.3 percent of publicly funded K-12 students overall, these programs receive just 1.0 percent of total public spending. These basic facts provide important context for evaluating arguments that private educational choice programs harm students who remain in district schools. Given this context, it is difficult to see how expanding educational opportunities for families via educational choice programs could harm public school systems fiscally. Tim Benson – The Heartland Institute