Archive for vouchers

WI voucher school closes "in dead of night," only 1 student proficient in reading 2012-'13

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school vouchers

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sure loves to push the talking point of a voucher school in every pot, because, see, that's just the kind of corporatist he is. But back in August 2013, I posted this: Wisconsin families who already have kids at taxpayer-funded private schools are still sending in voucher requests. I wrote:

Wisconsin gets a lot of voucher requests for their private schools. However, there appears to be a teeny weeny little glitchette. Families who already have kids at those schools are still sending in voucher requests. Gee, ya think someone should take a second look at Gov. Scott Walker's cherished privatizing efforts?

The answer to that question is still "yes." Why? Here's one more reason, courtesy of JSOnline:

A small private school participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program abruptly closed in the middle of December, but not before collecting more than $200,000 from taxpayers this academic year to educate students who now attend other schools, state officials confirmed.

LifeSkills Academy, a K-8 school that had dwindled to 66 students... "They moved out, as people say, in the dead of the night," Father Carl Diederichs of All Saints said. [...]

LifeSkills received $202,278 in taxpayer-funded voucher payments from the state this year, and more than $633,248 in voucher payments in 2012-'13, according to the DPI. The school joined the voucher program in 2008-'09 and collected more than $2 million in total public payments to educate children.

Pretty bad, huh? It gets even worse. Test scores showed that, out of all the students who went to LifeSkills school o' voucher, only one-- count 'em, one-- was proficient in reading or math in 2012-'13. That's some track record.

And it gets worse: The Department of Public Instruction cannot "recoup public money spent by voucher schools that do not finish the year." That's a big hunk o' cash to lose, right taxpayers?

So, Gov. Scott Walker, how's that privatization thing workin' for ya?

privatization

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WalkerWorld: Achievement gap between black and white Wisconsin students “unacceptably high”

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walker world

The LaCrosse Tribune is reporting on how things are going in Scott Walker World, specifically how fourth- and eighth-grade students are coming along.

The good news?

Wisconsin fourth- and eighth-graders are scoring at and above national averages in reading and math, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests released Thursday...

The bad news?

... but the results also showed the state’s achievement gap is the highest of all 50 states.

Wisconsin’s gap [between black and white students] is the highest in each of the four areas tested among states, according to the NAEP testing data. [...]

The achievement gap between black and white Wisconsin students is “unacceptably high,” DPI said. Wisconsin’s black students’ average scores were some of the lowest in the country.

Gee, could it have anything to do with his budget funding school vouchers, charter schools "leaving public schools on life support"?

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Wisconsin report card: 53% of charter schools fell below expectations, 2 got failing grade

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grade F

Back in February I posted, Gov. Scott Walker's budget: Planned Parenthood closes 4 locations; funds school vouchers, charter schools "leaving public schools on life support."

Yes, Scotty not only tries to bust unions, but he also makes it harder on children, including special needs children, to access public education.

By the way, did you know that e-mails linked the Jeb Bush foundation, corporations, ALEC, and education officials? Of course, corporate funders benefited. Leave it to the GOP to put profits over the educational needs of all children.

When schools are privatized, they exist to make money, which leads to cutting corners and catering to those who can afford the high price of a private education. And charter schools challenge teachers’ unions while education opportunities suffer. In Philadelphia, charter school teachers rallied for unionization:

[T]hese teachers are on the frontlines of the education reform movement and among the first to seek to unionize the corporate education sector.

$400,000 was spent by the group that owns the charter of the high school in question to stop that union effort.

At the rally, the teachers were pretty clear about what they were fighting for; and, it doesn't revolve around pay and benefits. Emily Guck who has been teaching at Olney Charter High School for two years explained that since teachers see how policy affects their students on a day-to-day basis, teachers at the charter school should be granted a seat at the table.

Period. That was their priority, not money.

One twelfth grade teacher at the school explained:

"One of the reasons we feel our charter school union drive is so important in the present moment is that over the last decade or so, as we've seen charter schools continue to proliferate, major changes have happened in terms of who actually gets to make decisions about public education. Traditionally, such decisions have been made through collaborations between elected officials, teachers, parents, and administrators. Increasingly, they are now being made in closed-meetings by the unelected board members of private organizations, who may or may not have backgrounds in education, or children in the schools for which they are making decisions."

In Wisconsin, charter schools and voucherizing have consistently been pet issues for Gov. Walker. Let's check in on how that's been working out.

Via JSOnline:

Despite having more freedom over curriculum, budgets and staffing than traditional public schools, the majority of Milwaukee's independent charter schools are not meeting performance expectations, according to statewide report card results for 2012-'13.

Of the 17 independent charters in Milwaukee that received a rating through the state's new school report card accountability system, 53% fell below expectations, with two schools authorized by the City of Milwaukee receiving a failing grade... The schools are publicly financed but privately managed, and are given freedom from bureaucratic restraints on school districts in exchange for upholding a promise to deliver on performance. [...]

[O]n a percentage basis, the 134 schools rated in MPS [Milwaukee Public Schools] educated three times as many students learning English and twice as many students with special needs, compared with independent charters. The charter schools enrolled a higher percentage of white students and lower percentage of students in poverty than MPS.

Class dismissed.

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Wisconsin families who already have kids at taxpayer-funded private schools are still sending in voucher requests

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public school sinking cartoon via Philly.comVia Philly.com

Wisconsin gets a lot of voucher requests for their private schools. However, there appears to be a teeny weeny little glitchette. Families who already have kids at those schools are still sending in voucher requests. Gee, ya think someone should take a second look at Gov. Scott Walker's cherished privatizing efforts?

Via the Leader-Telegram:

Earlier this year, in a controversial move, the state Legislature expanded the voucher program to include 500 students outside the Milwaukee and Racine school districts and grow from 500 to 1,000 the number of students in those two districts eligible for taxpayer-funded private school educations for the 2013-14 school year.[...]

The program would pay for K-12 students to attend private schools if income eligibility requirements are met rather than the public schools where they live. Private schools would receive taxpayer funding in the form of state aid for each eligible student.

When pushing for private school voucher expansion, Gov. Scott Walker said the plan would allow students from underperforming public schools who couldn’t afford to attend private schools to do so. State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, said using state money to pay for students whose families already send them to private schools wasn’t part of those discussions. She said she raised the issue of that possibility earlier this year when the Legislature discussed vouchers but was told that wasn’t the intent of the program.

Oh, but it was. Using public money to pay for students who already attend private schools was indeed the intent. Democratic members of the state legislature are "troubled by the lack of fiscal transparency by private schools, who are not required to provide school-related information as are public schools." Too many loopholes in the law, say they.

And they would be correct.

walker world

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