How School Choice Changed Milwaukee

Published July 1, 2003

“Freedom to choose has helped revitalize education in Milwaukee, for families and for schools,” says former Milwaukee Public Schools board member John Gardener in a new TV film about the Wisconsin city’s pioneering school choice program.

The film, produced by the American Education Reform Council, brings the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program to life by chronicling the journeys of three city families whose children participate in the choice program.

Through interviews with public school officials, city and state elected officials, academic researchers, and school choice advocates, the film also documents the positive impact the choice program has had on the Milwaukee Public Schools. Since the implementation of parental choice, public school enrollment and test scores are up, and the dropout rate is down.

“I think we’ve all risen because of the competition that now exists in the Milwaukee public schools,” says Christine J. Feltz, principal of Central City Cyberschool Independent Charter School.

George A. Clowes is managing editor of School Reform News. His email address is [email protected].

For more information …

Information on the American Education Reform Council is available online at, which also offers–as its name implies–a wealth of school choice information.

Copies of the 28-minute, full-color film, Freedom to Choose: How School Choice Revitalized Education in an American City, may be obtained from EdiTran Video Duplication and Production Multimedia Services at 414/357-6477. For orders of 1 to 25 videos, the cost is $3.55 per video, plus shipping; for orders of 26 or more videos, the cost is $2.87 per video, plus shipping. Visa or MasterCard orders only.