Research Briefs

WEAC Research Briefs

  • WISCONSIN VOUCHERS: PRIVATE SUBSIDIES AT PUBLIC EXPENSE. Vouchers undercut our fundamental democratic promise of a free public education. They are designed to support the private sector at public expense. Wisconsin’s 2015-17 State Budget increased the use of vouchers to divert state aid away from public schools to support private schools instead. As private schools grab more vouchers through time, our public schools lose more and more state funding. Read more.
  • WHAT’S HAPPENED TO SCHOOL FUNDING? Wisconsin public schools receive funding from three major sources: federal aid, state aid, and local support. State aid for public education has declined the last five years harming our ability to maintain strong public schools and provide all children with the opportunities they need to get ahead. Read more.
  • WHAT ARE VOUCHER SCHOOLS? Vouchers never took hold nationally, despite repeated attempts at state and federal levels during the 1980s. They were introduced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1990 through the state budget process. No standalone piece of legislation to enact vouchers was debated or passed by the Legislature. Read more.
  • WHAT ARE CHARTER SCHOOLS? The idea for charter schools was introduced in the late 1970s by Ray Budde, professor of education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It gained recognition with publication of his 1988 book: Educating by Charter: Restructuring School Districts. His idea was simple: teachers should be granted contracts or “charters” by local school boards to develop innovative educational experiences for children within the public school system. Until his death in 2005, Budde opposed efforts to have private charters replace public schools as a new standalone form of education. Read more.
  • WHAT ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS? Public schools arose soon after 1800 in America, the result of a national movement. The demand for popular education was an outgrowth of Enlightenment thinking that informed many aspects of the American Revolution. Public school advocates believed that in order for the nation to succeed average men needed the ability to read, have knowledge of the principles of government, and have an understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship in a nation that was for the first time comprised of “we the people.” Read more.