Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The future of Wisconsin’s children are not the Governor’s priority, WEAC is

As I read the headlines in today’s Milwaukee Journal, I am not surprised the least bit surprised.

The taxpayers are once again bearing the burden for government greed.

Shift in voucher funding sought

The man who likes to call himself the “education” governor is once again proving that educating children is not important to him.

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett is fussing over the fact that the school voucher program that sends public school children to private schools for a better education is costing the Milwaukee taxpayers even more. I cannot blame the Mayor for being upset, he is right.

Let us start with a few basic facts first.

A child gets a better education at a private school than they do at a public school. I do not think there is any doubt about this statement. There is a reason that many parents sacrifice so much extra money in order to send their kids to private schools.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee taxpayer is paying about $2000 per pupil to send kids to public school and $2975 per pupil to send kids to private school.

The reason this is such an outrage is that funding these private school vouchers costs the taxpayers less, not more.

In the ’05-06 school year, it costs $11,885 in Milwaukee to send a child to public school. In that same time frame, it costs $6610 for vouchers to send them to private schools.

Wow- it is actually $5275 per pupil less to send a child to a private school and the child will get a better education!

Why are the cost savings for sending kids to a private school using the voucher system not being passed on to the state taxpayers?

After all year after year, not only the Milwaukee taxpayers, but all Wisconsin taxpayers are paying more and more out for educating students.

Clearly, it appears that the Governor and the state are absorbing the cost savings in the voucher program, then turning around and raising our taxes to fund public schools each year. On top of that, they are forcing the local government to increase property taxes and school taxes because they are not funding as much as they should fund.

Every taxpayer in the state is being raided because the Governor Doyle and the Democrats. All of us pay state taxes, after all.

When there was an opportunity to fix this problem a few weeks ago, every single Democrat in the Joint Finance Committee actually voted against fixing the problem.

What is stunning about all of this is that Governor Jim Doyle likes to call himself the “education” governor.

However, children are getting a better education by using the school choice system and still the governor and the Democrats are against fully funding the program.

Why is that? Why are the “education” governor and the Democrats against fully funding the school choice program?

That answer is simple.

WEAC!

WEAC does not like the school choice program.

As long as WEAC continues to fund Governor Doyle and the Democrats, a child’s education will take a back seat.

Here is a perfect opportunity to provide Wisconsin’s children with a better education and it actually costs less.

Instead of taking this opportunity, Governor Doyle and the Democrats would rather concern themselves with whether or not WEAC will continue to fund their future political aspirations.

The future of Wisconsin’s children are not the Governor’s priority, WEAC is!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"In the ’05-06 school year, it costs $11,885 in Milwaukee to send a child to public school. In that same time frame, it costs $6610 for vouchers to send them to private schools. Wow- it is actually $5275 per pupil less to send a child to a private school and the child will get a better education!"

Is this the "better education" in the private charter school that was taught by the unaccredited teachers? Or the "better education" in the private charter school that was bankrupted by the embezzlement of its principal?

To say that a private charter school will necessarily bring a better education to a child is simply ignorant of the facts.

And before you go attacking WEAC, please understand that this is a group, formed by teachers, representing teachers -- people who care enough about their community and the future of this country to choose teaching as a career. Your disrespect for this profession and your outright ignorance in the face of the facts means probably that you should have listed to your own teachers a little better how many ever decades ago.

No, I'm not on WEAC's payroll. No, I am not a teacher myself. I don't even have any kids. I do know that the way to make public education better (in Milwaukee and everywhere else) is to properly fund it, and to draw the best and brightest into the schools as teachers, not demogogue them.

I know that better public schools means less crime, and a more productive workforce. These things, in addition to happy and healthy kids, are not as important as a miniscule tax break created by the money "saved" by the charter schools program.

Anonymous said...

Please replace "not as important" with "more important" in the last paragraph of the post above. Sorry about the typo.

jeff said...

Kathy forgets that one of the biggest problems with the Milwaukee Public Schools is not WEAC but that they, because of public pressure, dont want to do the consolidation of schools which are not fully utilized currently. Savings on the overall budget for Milwaukee schools could be done if their Board had the will to do so. Also there are more than enough real socio-economic/cultural problems in Milwaukee and its schools that WEAC doesnt need to be blamed for the school's ills, either in Milwaukee or anywhere else in the state.

Better overall use of funds by any government authority is the 1st and best place to start. Yet, that would mean talking real issues and making tough decisions. It is much easier to find scapegoats--whether it is WEAC or Republican politicians or Diamond Jim Doyle---to blame.

Xoff said...

"A child gets a better education at a private school than they do at a public school. I do not think there is any doubt about this statement."

Well, just in case there is some doubt about that statement, how about offering some proof?

Anonymous said...

You want proof? How about 15,000 plus students and parents jumping at the idea of getting out of MPS and into a private school.

They are voting with their feet and they want something better than MPS.

Jay Bullock said...

There is so much going on here . . .

First, to Anon 4:05 and Kathy: The voting parents do with their feet often has little to do with school quality. The most comprehensive recent reviews of the MPCP--the annual Public Policy Forum reports, and a special report two years ago in the pro-voucher Journal Sentinel--found that parents rarely make their decisions based on quality. Many opt for private schools for religious reasons, others because of friends or proximity to the home. To paraphrase Anon, they want something different from MPS, not necessarily better.

Jeff, while I appreciate much of the sentiment in your comment (I teach in MPS), you're just flat wrong about closing schools. MPS is indeed shutting down schools and consolidating programs. The process is called "Right Sizing" and you can learn all about it at the MPS web site. The first round was controversial because the district closed a beloved high school whose appearance on the list schocked a lot of people. The second round passed with barely a blip of recognition from the public or complaint from unions or parents. A third round is expected this fall.

And, Kathy, I'm really confused by this paragraph:
Clearly, it appears that the Governor and the state are absorbing the cost savings in the voucher program, then turning around and raising our taxes to fund public schools each year. On top of that, they are forcing the local government to increase property taxes and school taxes because they are not funding as much as they should fund.

For one, voucher funding comes from the state's General Fund, not the dedicated K-12 fund. And, in fact, the presence of the MPCP in the state does save taxpayers around the state money: When Mayor Barrett first got het up about the "funding flaw," he commissioned an analysis by the state's Legislative Audit Bureau that ran the hypothetical numbers were the MPCP to disappear. Depending on how many of the MPCP students returned to MPS--and, therefore, required aid from the K-12 fund as opposed to the General Fund--other districts around the state would be forced to raise local property taxes to make up for what the state would no longer be able to send their way.

In other words, the savings created by MPCP is at this very moment keeping your property taxes lower in Racine. No one is "absorbing" anything.

jeff said...

Could have sworn that they reversed themselves earlier this year on a couple school closings.

Jay Bullock said...

Well, Jeff, there was the proposed merger of Dover and Trowbridge (a story I covered for the Bay View Compass) that was proposed too late, and, because of the necessary renovations to Dover, wouldn't have actually saved money. But the "Right Sizing" went off without a hitch.

jeff said...

I definitely remember hearing Mark Belling talk about the Board reversing the closings of 2 schools which were to be consolidated into a 3rd.