The first applicants for school voucher program appears to be “Litany of the Saints”
Scott Walker – There you go again – you are no FDR
Yes, Scott Walker recently compared himself to FDR. What if this FDR was about to end middle and high school sports as we know it. Yes, this is a hot button issue, but if there is any truth in Walker’s self comparison to FDR, than there is much more truth in the statement: one of the first victims of the new school voucher program could very well be the public school sports programs.
As with most “Walker reforms” the rhetoric of the pitch sounds good to the voter’s ear.
“We … know that every school doesn’t fit every student, which is why this budget includes a statewide expansion of school choice,” said Walker in a video he released touting the budget. “It’s about ensuring that every kid has access to a great education, regardless of ZIP code.”
Because Walker is Governor with his “bully as never before” pulpit, his framing of the idea is the one that is most often heard, while the counter argument of Tony Evers might be tuned out:
“History shows, and I predict, these caps are temporary,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, a devoted voucher opponent. “And, the result will be more and more funding pulled out of public school classrooms and put into private and religious schools.”
The “caps” Evers refers to are the number of students allowed in the program; 500 students for 2014, and 1000 students for 2015. Evers predicts the cap to raise until Wisconsin schools are effectively privatized. What do you think will happen to your public school football, wrestling, and basketball program at that point?
As far as Walker’s stated goal: “It’s about ensuring that every kid has access to a great education, regardless of ZIP code.” The list of applications for the voucher program are out, and it reads like the litany of the saints.
Of the 2,069 eligible students who applied to be in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program 76 percent (1,566) did not attend a Wisconsin public school last year. In other words, students are not shifting to a school for a better education in a different zip code, as Walker promised. Where did most of applications come from? The list of applications indicate that 67 percent (1,393) attended private school last year. So they are returning to the same private school in the same zip code, only now, they will attend on the taxpayer’s dime. Schools named
Voucher Applications Litany of the Saints
25 Schools Receiving the Most Applications
Application Period — August 1 – 9, 2013
Xavier Catholic School System Inc. (193)
Beloit and Janesville
Rock County Christian School (102)
Green Bay Area Catholic Education – South (64)
Green Bay Area Catholic Education – West (62)
Notre Dame de la Baie Academy (82)
Saint Joseph Catholic Academy (100)
Roncalli High School (65)
Saint Francis of Assisi School (93)
Valley Christian School (95)
Sheboygan Christian School (59)
Stevens Point and Plover
Wausau and Rothschild
Immanuel Lutheran School (40)
As long as the representation in the legislature remains the same, the numbers of students awarded vouchers will continue to rise. As the numbers rise, less money will be allotted to public schools and your favorite sports program.
For now, there is still time
But what about the next budget? And the one after that. If Republicans continue to be in control of the Capitol, it will be very difficult for the voucher skeptics within the GOP, such as Sens. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, and Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, to stop leadership from pushing for yet another expansion. The voucher lobby has spent way too much money on behalf of Republican candidates in recent years to have its interests completely ignored.
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