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Public schools are the bedrock of our educational system, but here in Wisconsin they are in danger.

Local school officials have expressed their concerns publically, the Wisconsin State Journal has editorialized, “The GOP budget harms public education ...” and Gov. Walker has signaled his intent to greatly expand a “for profit” private school system also known as voucher schools.

One of Walker’s first steps on his assault of the public school system was an attempt to usurp the authority of the state superintendent of schools by making the position one appointed by the governor rather than elected by the people. Fortunately, our founding fathers included a provision in the state constitution that the superintendent be accountable to the people. The wisdom of that decision can be appreciated today by preventing a current governor, who has no degree or academic or practical credentials in education, from setting standards in the public school system.

As an accountant I can assure you that if the voucher school system is expanded in Wisconsin, it will cause an unbearable increase in taxes. Any entity cannot long endure financially a duplication or a doubling of systems. School districts with a voucher school and a public school will require two separate school buildings, their separate maintenance, transportation, separate sports programs and other fixed costs. Corporations have long known that duplication of plants or facilities decreases profits. Evidence of that accounting principle is revealed by the decision of a state business to close two plants this summer consolidating their production at other Wisconsin locations.

Remember also that voucher schools have different standards, no local control by a school board and their operation answers to the owner/investors who may not reside in Wisconsin. If you need further proof of the folly, if not danger to the education of our children, of Walker’s voucher school expansion, read: “Private School Voucher Expansion; The Wrong Choice for Wisconsin” by the Wisconsin School Administrators Alliance. http://wsaa.org/saainfo/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/SAA-Voucher-Memo-Letterhead-0214132.pdf.

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(3) comments

SchoolBoy

The fact is that the "greatest number" allowed to participate in 2013 is actually 25,500 increasing to 26,500 in 2014. There are currently already 25,000 students in the voucher program, with a total cost over the next 2 years of about $385 million (DPI estimate) - certainly not small change! I do support improving education, but I think Duane12 does make a very good point about the extra cost associated with supporting 2 separate systems. I would also add that we unfortunately have yet to hear what metrics will be used to evaluate the success of voucher school students. How can we spend such a large sum of money with no public feedback of worth?

Duane12

Thank you Mr. Starnes for the correction. Of course the quote lamenting the harm to public education was from the Capital Times and not the Wisconsin State Journal. I apologize for neglecting to do a fact check of my source as well as to provide a confirming link at: http://host.madison.com/news/local/writers/paul_fanlund/paul-fanlund-this-july-celebrating-political-silver-linings/article_df7c01e4-3515-5298-8641-147bf56897ff.html which would have immediately revealed the correct source of the quote.

I regret that my error and your correction distract from what is the most important point to the issue; i.e., a professional educator group, the Wisconsin School Administrators Alliance, concludes that a private school voucher expansion is wrong for Wisconsin. I refer all to the link provided at the end of my opening comment.

Jed Starnes

This opinion writer erroneously cites a Wisconsin State Journal editorial by stating that it was their editorial board's opinion that "the GOP budget harms public education."

These words never appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal. They were contained in an opinion piece posted July 1, 2013 at the Capital Times (an online-only publication) website by CapTimes editor, Madison Progressive, and long-time Walker critic Paul Fanlund.

The Capital Times is undeniably one of the most left-reaching news publications in the United States and is read religiously by unionized Madison teachers, self-proclaimed Communists, and assignment editors at MSNBC (but, alas, I repeat myself.) That their leftist editor is decrying public school reform in any incarnation should surprise no one.

Furthermore, the greatest number of students who will be allowed to participate in the voucher school changes Mr. Dubey so disdains - statewide - will be 500 in 2013 and 1000 in 2014, outside of Milwaukee/Racine.

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