Milwaukee School Voucher Program: Was It Ever Effective in Its Initial Stages?
The School Voucher program of Milwaukee offers parents with low income the opportunity to select a neighborhood choice program for their children. School choice programs promise smaller classrooms and more individualized attention to students and their academic success.
In the early years of school choice, many schools struggled to stay afloat, mainly due to the supposing,” last but not least,” pay period. Many times, teachers would have to wait an entire month before receiving a pay check.
Overdue payments occurred because government payouts would only occur after all public-school funds had been delivered. The delay in payment drove serval good teachers away from the choice program to Milwaukee area Public, resulting in a severe lack of quality education.
My Experience as a Choice School Teacher
I worked in the School Voucher program for twelve Years, instructing both middle school and elementary classrooms. The lack of resources and structure ruined opportunities to provide the type of knowledge and skills needed to match the public competition.
Most of the lack of resources where due to inside corruption. Individuals would spend money on personal items and equipment unrelated to education. Many individuals were caught forging the names of students who didn’t even attend the school.
However, some schools were honest with the finances and investing in the appropriate resources needed to give students a quality education, including hiring effective teachers.
Parent’s Demand for More Effective Schools
The School Voucher program was created based on the need of parents for more effective schools for inner city children. Parents desired:
- Smaller classroom size
- Familiar cultures
- Best Alternative public schools
- More creative classrooms
The Voucher program’s attempt to deliver upon these promises were largely successful, especially for schools who were more passionate about the education of children than the amount of money received from government checks.
Despite Lack of Resources: Success in several schools
Despite lack of resources some schools stilled prospered and became role models for other district schools.
I worked at Woodson Academy, one of the biggest Choice Schools in the city of Milwaukee at the time. During my watch, I could be very creative in my classroom instruction and delivery without adhering to the state standardized test. My Children were learning via Multiple Intelligence 1 or 2 levels above their original grades.
In addition to the most improved teacher, I eventually won Teacher of the Year Award for 1998-99 school year. At the time I was teaching first and second graders.
The Power of Multiple Intelligence
Utilizing Multiple Intelligences in your teaching offer several rewards when it comes to academic excitement. First, students become more interesting in the lesson when it is mixed with music, song or dance. Second, you encounter less classroom discipline issues. Even the unruliest students may desire to participate.
An active classroom is the definition of multiple intelligent classrooms. During the lessons, students are always mobile. That’s what makes learning so much fun, especially for many hyper or ADDH students who find it hard to focus while sitting still.
The magnificent thing about the school choice program is that a teacher can be as creative as he or she wants to be.
Growth & Sustainability
Today, the Milwaukee Choice program is more established than it was in its initial stages. More effective teachers due to better training and tighter state regulations have somewhat stabilized the Milwaukee choice program.
Choice schools which have survived the initial stages of the Milwaukee Voucher Programs include:
- Hickman Academy Preparatory School
- Clara Mahammad School
- Early View Academy of Excellence
- Carter’s Christian Academy
- Academy of Excellence
- Atlas Preparatory Academy
These private schools committed to the vision of the Milwaukee choice program, a vision to provide a quality education to the children of the city’s low-income parents.
The Milwaukee School Voucher program is a worthy program to enroll students. Parents who desire a smaller classroom size, a creative learning environment, and a greater chance for a one on one approach to teaching students will find choice schools very intriguing.
The Milwaukee School Choice program must continue to improve in terms of transforming the academics of low income students. The goal must be to convince skeptics that the program can effectively go beyond the academic success of public schools.
Nevertheless, the magnificent voucher program is a godsend and a worthy choice for parents who desire to give their children a more fun, interesting and creative learning experience.