"Tommy Thompson created the first school choice program in the nation, giving thousands of Milwaukee students the choice of where they go to school – no matter where they live or how much money their parents make."
Tommy Thompson on Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 in his campaign Web site.
He was credited as a "tinkerer"
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was established in 1989, it was the first of its kind. The program allowed low income families to use state funds to send their children, at no cost to them, to the public or private school of their choice.
David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institution, gives Thompson and a Milwaukee state legislator, Polly Williams, "most of the credit" for creating school choice. "The (Milwaukee) school choice reform was pivotal in putting choice on the national agenda."
In an editorial praising Thompson as "America's No. 1 public-policy tinkerer," the Capital Times declared that after welfare reform, "If there is a second "reform" for which Thompson is credited, it is state support of the development of school vouchers."