Local, National & Global School Voucher Perspectives

Matthew DeFour on Madison School Board Member and Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said Tuesday that if elected, she would eliminate the new statewide voucher program and private school tax deduction in the next budget.

Burke, a Madison School Board member, previously said she didn’t support the statewide voucher program.

In response to a question at a Wispolitics.com luncheon at the Madison Club about what she would cut in the next state budget, Burke went further, calling statewide vouchers “a new entitlement program we frankly don’t need.” She also identified the private school tax deduction as something she would cut.

“I respect people’s choice in making that, but I don’t think we should be subsidizing that choice,” Burke said, referring to sending children to private schools.

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign issued a statement in response to Burke’s comment.

“Gov. Walker believes every child, regardless of ZIP code, deserves access to a great education, and parents should have the right to choose the best educational environment for their children, whether it’s a public, private, charter or home school,” spokeswoman Alleigh Marre wrote in an email.

Both the tax deduction and the statewide voucher program were introduced in the 2013-15 budget signed by Walker.

Uppity Wisconsin on Mary Burke (October 2013):

o, yesterday, when Mary Burke finally made a promise and told the Wisconsin State Journal that, although she opposed Walker’s statewide expansion of vouchers, she nonetheless would do nothing to remove the statewide voucher program, jaws dropped throughout Wisconsin’s progressive community:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said Monday she wouldn’t have expanded private school vouchers statewide, which Gov. Scott Walker did in this year’s state budget.

However, Burke said if elected she would keep the statewide program in place with a cap of 1,000 students and seek accountability for private schools receiving public funds in Milwaukee.

Vouchers a conservative entitlement program — John Skille

Gov. Scott Walker says he believes every child deserves access to a great education. He believes parents should have the right to choose the best educational environment for their children, and extends that choice to private, charter and religious schools.

This is a campaign to privatize education in the belief competition will produce improvement in public education. Many fall victim to this notion and forget competition is the process by which both winners and losers are created.

Educators remind us we are not in the business of creating losers. We want all students to grow in an environment that challenges them.

If we create a system that results in closing or chastising schools because of student test scores, or firing or chastising teachers for the numerical averages of their students, you can see the “thin ice” on which this thesis rests.

Elizabeth Warren’s Quiet Support for Public School Vouchers by Carrie Lucas:

If all goes right for Massachusetts Democrats in November, they will fill the seat once held by liberal lion Sen. Ted Kennedy with a school voucher supporter who has proposed radically reforming public education in America.

You won’t find a call for school vouchers on Elizabeth Warren’s campaign website. Education is listed first among the candidate’s top priorities, but the website sticks to safe, poll tested platitudes calling for “good public schools, good public universities, and good technical training” as the key to a having a competitive workforce.

Yet in her 2003 book, The Two Income Trap, Warren and co-author Amelia Warren Tyagi cite the traditional public schools system, in which children are assigned to a school based on their residence, as a key source of economic pressure for families with children. Warren and Tyagi call for system-wide reforms to break the link between where a child lives and where they go to school, and specifically make the case for a fully-funded voucher program that would enable children to attend any public school.

Sweden’s School Choice: Vouchers for All and “The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking.”; “For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools….”.