Taxpayers’ bill for private voucher schools soars to $350 million

Wisconsin taxpayers will be spending $349.6 million to support private schools this year through the state’s voucher program, up from $302 million last year, according to figures released by the Department of Public Instruction. According to DPI, the taxpayer-funded voucher programs will support a total of 43,450 private school students this year, up from 40,039 students last year.

Read More...

Despite serious problems and a lack of research support, virtual schools continue to spread

Lawmakers throughout the nation continue to support the spread of virtual schools despite the fact that research reveals overwhelming evidence of poor performance, according to a new review by the National Education Policy Center. Given the evidence, the review recommends that policymakers slow or stop the growth in the number of virtual and blended schools and the size of their enrollments until the reasons for their relatively poor performance have been identified and addressed.

Read More...

Report gives Wisconsin’s ‘abysmal’ charter school policies a grade of F

Wisconsin charter school policies are “abysmal” and deserve a grade of F, according to a new report card from the National Education Association. The report – titled State Charter Laws: NEA Report Card – zeroes in on the weak regulation and lax oversight that enable for-profit organizations to open and manage charters in most states.

Read More...

Voucher and charter schools ‘open the door for discrimination,’ report finds

Congress, federal agencies and state legislatures should adopt laws and regulations that make it clear that private schools and charter schools receiving public tax dollars must “operate in non-discriminatory ways” and cannot exclude some populations from employment and enrollment, according recommendations of a new policy brief. The brief – “How School Privatization Opens the Door for Discrimination” – was co-written by Julie F. Mead, professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Read More...

Voucher program enrollment up 8.7 percent, cost soars to $302 million

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s three taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs rose 8.7 percent this year, while the cost soared 12.3 percent to $302 million, according to a report released Tuesday by the Department of Public Instruction. Across the three programs (Milwaukee, Racine and statewide), 39,381 students received a voucher to attend one of the 279 participating private schools. That is an increase of 3,164 students and 43 schools compared to last school year. The cost of the three programs combined is estimated at $302 million for the 2018-19 school year, which is an increase of about $33 million (12.3 percent) from the prior year.

Read More...

Private school voucher backers top $7.5 million in donations to Wisconsin politicians

With the latest round of state campaign finance reports in, backers of the private school voucher program have larded the campaign accounts of politicians willing to do their bidding with $7.5 million in campaign contributions since 2008. Leading the pack, and hauling in more than 1 of every 4 dollars donated, is Governor Scott Walker with a total take in excess of $2.165 million. “The people writing these checks want to see more private school vouchers,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker has more than delivered, draining resources away from public K-12 schools and sending them to the less accountable private voucher schools favored by the donors who’ve dumped over $2 million into his campaign coffers.”

Read More...