A high school teacher in Wisconsin looks at what Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature have in store for public schools. It bears mentioning that Wisconsin public schools have the highest graduation rate in the nation.
I teach at a wonderful high school in La Crosse, WI. Here is what is coming for us as an early Christmas present, courtesy of Scott Walker and his Republican toadies in the legislature:
1. The (failed) Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) will be expanded to the entire state. There is no logic, other than “Choice must be good”.
2. There will be a new state charter board that will oversee all charters, including those already run by the school districts. There will be onerous new rules that will make compliance difficult, and that will remove any oversight, even of the charters that the districts themselves run. These changes will likely have the effect of killing many of the successful public charters. This should open the door for lots of private charters, given their rampant success in Louisiana, Florida, and New York.
3. Possible continued freeze on revenue, so that even when the governor says there will be more money for schools, it will really just be a tax refund, no actual money in the schools’ coffers.
4. Removal of many/all the already flimsy restraints on the current voucher program. This could mean, in just a few years, that every child currently enrolled in a private school could start receiving a voucher to attend that school. A child would not have to ever have attended a public school of any type, much less a “failing” public school. This money would come directly from the state aid a district receives. So, our district could end up losing money for students that have never attended our (successful) schools.
These things are being sold as “Every parent should have the constitutional right to choose the appropriate education for his/her child” or even more simply “This levels the playing field” or some other moronic statement that has no relevance to the decisions being made and the consequences of those decisions.
If you have any way to help get the word out, or if you have the ear of someone who is “in on” the decision-making, please help. These changes could start very small, very innocuously, and within 2-4 years our public school system would be decimated beyond repair.
Spanish Teacher Central HS
Dept. Chair WLD
La Crosse, WI 54601