Recently elected Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has proposed freezing voucher enrollments and charter expansion. 

Neither charters nor vouchers have been more successful than public schools. Milwaukee, which has both, is one of the nation’s lowest performing school districts on the NAEP.

Republicans in the legislature have vowed to protect privatization of public funding. They are determined to eliminate local control of public schools, whichused to be a bedrock tenet of Republican thinking.

The Journal-Sentinel reports:

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers in his first state budget is seeking to undo expansions of private voucher schools and independent charter schools passed by Republicans over the last decade.

Aides say the proposals are an attempt to reduce property taxes and stabilize what the Democratic governor sees as two parallel systems of education in Wisconsin.

But Republicans who control the Legislature are likely to block many, if not all, of the measures Evers wants.

Evers, the former chief of the state’s education agency, is seeking to freeze the number of students who may enroll in private voucher schools across the state, including in Milwaukee where the nation’s first voucher program began nearly 30 years ago.

The governor’s budget also proposes to suspend the creation of new independent charter schools until 2023 and eliminates a program aimed at Milwaukee that requires county officials to turn persistently poor-performing schools into charter schools without district officials’ approval.

“I’ve said all along that addressing the pressing issues facing our state starts with education,” Evers said in a statement Sunday. “We have to fully fund our public schools, and we have to make sure voucher schools are accountable and transparent, not just for kids and parents, but for Wisconsin taxpayers, too.”

Advocates for private school vouchers see the proposals much differently:

“Evers’ budget would end school choice as Wisconsin knows it,” said C.J. Szafir, executive vice president of the conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

Aides to Evers provided the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with an overview of proposed changes to the state’s four private voucher programs and its charter schools, some of which were proposed by Evers in September through the Department of Public Instruction’s budget request.

Evers as state schools superintendent oversaw the state’s 422 school districts and its private schools from 2009 until being sworn in as governor earlier this year.

In that time, Evers repeatedly argued the state could not properly fund its public schools while also expanding taxpayer-funded private voucher and charter school options without a funding increase for public schools.

Republicans under former Gov. Scott Walker backed aggressive growth in taxpayer-funded subsidies for students living in middle and low-income households who want to attend private schools, arguing students who lack the financial means to move to a higher-performing school should be able to enroll in them anyway.

Walker and Republicans also implemented new ways to create independent charter schools in liberal-leaning school districts that have long blocked them — like Madison and Milwaukee.

Democrats, teachers unions and public school advocates have opposed the expansions of alternatives to traditional public schools, which coincided with budget proposals that for the most part either cut funding or held funding flat for public schools.

Evers’ budget proposal seeks to pump the brakes on those expansions, following heavy criticism of the statewide voucher programs subsidizing large groups of students already attending private schools without taxpayer-funded help.