Where are the investigative reporters?!
The quote that is the heading for this post is from Representative Dan LaMahieu.
Below is a response from Pulaski Schools Administrator Mel Lightner and father of a special needs student, correcting Mr. LaMahieu’s assertion from the perspective of one who has worked with schools for over 20 years.
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LaMahieu went on to say “I feel comfortable that the parents being involved will be seeking what is best for that student.” The Eastern Wisconsin Republican added that he does think it’s “a problem” that proposed funding increases for the voucher program far exceed that of public schools.”
A conference in Madison offered a glimpse of what could be contentious public hearings on the state budget proposal. A panel of three lawmakers from the Joint Finance Committee talked about their educational priorities during the Wisconsin Association of School Boards lobby day Wednesday.Wisconsin Radio Network
And where is the Wisconsin investigative media? What happened to investigative reporting as legislators stand in their official and powerful capacity and are allowed to make such sweeping and ill informed statements like the one that is the title of this post? It isn’t like this push for privatized education is new or unique to Wisconsin. Yet, the press is too often satisfied to quote the GOP tribunal of sound bite treachery and leave it at that.
Wisconsin Public Television and radio, and major news sources have done far too little to tap into the wealth of studies, real cost analysis, or case history of the reality of charter school performance.
Charter Schools seem like a reasonable idea…until you look below the surface.
This is just a little blog with one editor who is spending a Saturday digging up a few stories and links from the wealth of information that is out there for the taking. Where are the investigative journalists?
The proposal for increased funding of charter schools has been tested in other states with studies that show the wisdom of the idea – at first glance.
The proponents of dismantling public education would like to place emphasis on the word “choice” when selling charter school funding.
One of the saddest consequences of the merger of education with partisan politics is that we now no longer can trust pronouncements from many of our state and local departments of education. Instead of accurate data, we are apt to get spin, hype, distortion, and outright lies, all in the service of someone’s political agenda.
“The average charter school is doing about the same as the non-charter school when no adjustments are made for poverty and minority statuses. When the adjusted scores are considered, the average charter school performs significantly worse than the average non-charter school.”Diane Ravitch’s Blog
Dr. Stanley Smith, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s business school, analyzed school grades of Florida elementary schools last summer, examining the effect of poverty and minority status on those grades. These results call into question the emphasis by state education leaders — particularly Republicans — on charter schools, Smith said.
“Although charter schools may be cheaper for the state to fund, the adjusted scores suggest that Florida is also getting a lower return on these schools,” Smith said. “Is the lower average return on these schools worth the lower cost?” Florida Putting Education Reform To The Test
What is really descending on Wisconsin is another push of the conservative right, that has lost direction on the national scene, to push down on state houses to orchestrate an agenda of privatization that has been rejected as revealed in national polling.
Mr. Lightner sums it up with a snap in his statement before the Join Finance Committee:
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In the clip Superintendent Lightner refers to the great ray of light on the committee as “Jennifer”. This would be the only democrat on the panel Senator Jennifer Shilling. When she first ran in the recall election to unseat Dan Kapanke, I recorded the speech she delivered at the Democratic Headquarters in Viroqua. It seems very fitting for the subject at hand.