MADISON – School choice in Wisconsin has come a long way since the late 1980s, when Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and Milwaukee led the national school voucher revolution.

What began as a few private religious schools serving a couple hundred public school children in inner-city Milwaukee has swelled to scores of schools reaching nearly 25,000 students – the vast majority among the poorest of the poor.

The concept of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has expanded into Racine, where 11 schools boast enrollment of more than 500 students total. Racine expects to open up as 500 more spots next year after state-imposed caps are lifted, according to Terry Brown, vice president of School Choice Wisconsin, the Milwaukee-based advocacy group that supports parental rights in choosing the education of their children.