Early this morning the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved a budget bill that would expand the state’s school voucher program from Milwaukee and Racine to all communities starting this fall. The program would be limited to 500 students this school year, 1,000 new students during each subsequent school year, and no more than 1 percent of students from any given district. I figure this is a good time for me to remind my readers that I technically work at a private school that accepts vouchers and also remind my readers that I am staunchly opposed to the state’s school voucher program.
I really want someone to show me hard data that tells me that private schools that accept vouchers perform better than their public counterparts. If the argument is that our community’s families deserve more quality educational options, then show them to me. Unfortunately, most private schools that accept vouchers do not publicly release their test data.
Further, in the midst of our collective effort as educators to implement Common Core State Standards, private schools that accept vouchers are not required to align themselves to said standards. If this is going to be the case and we are going to expand the state’s school voucher program, then I am not sure why we have state standards in the first place.
So much for student achievement.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my school. I love the work that we do. But I am an American. I believe in public accountability measures for public dollars. The fact that more public dollars are being funneled behind closed doors boils my blood. The fact that the State of Wisconsin isn’t holding these private schools to the same standards is why you will find grey streaks in my hair. This program is an incredible injustice to our students, our schools, and our communities, and sadly there is no end in sight.