Public Schools

Public Schools

Wisconsin schools have consistently been ranked among the best in the country. In Milwaukee County, school districts are “unified,” which means they include elementary, middle and high schools. In suburban counties, however, there can be separate school districts for elementary and high schools. In these situations, several elementary school districts will feed into a single high school district. Information about the public schools serving the area is provided in the current edition of Discover Milwaukee. Click on the "Order Copy Now" button to receive your free copy. The state also publishes report cards for all public schools which can be viewed at:

Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools that are granted greater freedom in their operation so that they can develop innovative programs and curricula that could improve education as a whole. State lawmakers drafted charter school legislation in 1993 to foster an environment of creativity. Wisconsin charter schools are non-religious, free to the public, and open to all children in the state. They are created through a contract, or “charter,” between the operator of the school and the authorizer, which is typically a local school board, technical college or university.

Although charter schools are exempt from many of the state laws and rules that govern public schools, they are required to have a licensed instructional staff, participate in the state student testing program and school performance report, and must comply with student health and safety regulations. Public charter school students take the state tests required of other public school students.

Charter schools do not charge tuition. It is paid with money collected through property taxes and state funding. For more information, contact the state Department of Public Instruction at (888) 245-2732 or visit:

Virtual Charter Schools

Virtual charter schools provide all or a portion of their instruction through the Internet. The students and instructional staff are typically located in different geographic areas.

Like other charter schools, virtual schools are publicly funded, nonsectarian schools that are exempt from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools and that offer their classes online. Pupils typically attend from their homes and communicate with teachers using e-mail or online.

Home Schooling

Wisconsin allows a parent or guardian to provide a home-based private educational program for her or his child or children as part of the compulsory school attendance law. In order to home school, the parent or guardian must complete form PI 1206 and submit it to the state Department of Public Instruction.

State law requires home schooling to provide at least 875 hours of instruction each school year and “sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health.”

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction offers information about home schooling requirements and resources at In addition, there are two home-based schooling associations that can provide assistance: Wisconsin Parents Association ( and the Wisconsin Christian Home Educators Association (




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