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June 25, 2013

New state budget continues to support some bad voucher schools

Alan Borsuk:

It's been an excellent state budget season for lousy voucher schools.
Of course, it's been an excellent budget season for all private schools that want public financial support -- statewide expansion of vouchers, tax deductions for those who pay tuition to elementary and high schools, big jumps in state payments for each voucher student a year from now, some last-minute helpful surprises.

But the lousy operators must be feeling especially good. Why? Because nothing was done to drive them to improve or stop taking state money. Come this fall, a cluster of low performing, poorly run voucher schools will still enroll thousands of kids and take millions of dollars in state money.

Even the most adamant voucher supporters agree that there are schools in Milwaukee that don't merit public support. There is a large range of quality among the 110+ schools that take voucher students. Some are excellent, many are of average quality. And some really stand out when it comes to being bad.

Somehow, a solution that promotes quality and responsible use of public money seems off the table in Wisconsin.

I regard myself as one of the few people on Earth who has no pro or con position on vouchers. A professional obligation -- I'm neutral. But I've followed the program closely for 15 years and visited something around 100 voucher schools. I'm not neutral when it comes to quality.

Do we apply the same governance standards to all publicly funded schools?

Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 25, 2013 12:40 AM
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