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Milwaukee Bans Bribes for Enrolling in Charter and Voucher Schools

October 17, 2014

Student bribes: Are they an unintended consequence of deregulated for-profit charters and vouchers or… are they a feature?

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Milwaukee Common Council passed an ordnance prohibiting the use of bribes to induce students to enroll in charter or voucher schools.

Despite the frequent boasting about “long waiting lists,” it turns out that many of these non-public schools have trouble filling their seats. Public schools are not allowed to offer cash prizes or gifts for enrolling, but privately managed schools were offering cash and other inducements to boost their numbers and get state money.

The ordinance that “the Common Council approved Tuesday also recommends the city’s lobbyists push for a statewide ban on the practice, which independent charter schools, private voucher schools and even day care centers have quietly used — in some cases for years — to boost enrollment numbers.

“Enrollment is the lifeblood for schools that rely on public funding because it guarantees a certain amount of per-pupil dollars from the state.”

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