Saturday, April 13, 2013

Special Education Vouchers - The Segregation Agenda is Alive and Well in WI

Why would Governor Walker feel compelled to place things like vouchers and charter school oversight boards in the budget when they failed to pass his republican majority legislature?

Luring special needs students out of the public schools to attend for-profit schools without accountability to actually provide services or educate these children, children who end up back in the public schools after the for-profit schools receive the taxpayer funds, is an outrageous ideology and unconstitutional. 

Taxpayers will be paying double to educate these targeted children, once for them to transfer to a for-profit school and twice when they return to public schools.

Unsuspecting parents will seek out an alternative for their children and fall victim to an elaborate scheme that funnels more tax funds into the hands of the for-profit schools without certified teachers, background checks or accountability are a means to segregate the children by wealth.

Public schools and our children’s educators have been demonized for the love of money. I know a lot of wonderful parochial schools who have the integrity to let these disillusioned parents know they cannot serve their children, but taxpayer funds deferring their dwindling donations covering tuition costs is too good to pass up. We shouldn't forget that our constitution also states no taxpayer funds can go to sectarian education.

The Wisconsin Constitution Article X, § 3 states: 
"The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein; but the legislature by law may, for the purpose of religious instruction outside the district schools, authorize the release of students during regular school hours."
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in Vincent v. Voight, further elaborated on the constitution’s education article by detailing what is meant by a "sound basic education":
"An equal opportunity for a sound basic education is one that will equip students for their roles as citizens and enable them to succeed economically and personally. The legislature has articulated a standard for equal opportunity for a sound basic education in Wis. Stat. §§ 118.30(1g)(a) and 121.02(L) (1997-98) as the opportunity for students to be proficient in mathematics, science, reading and writing, geography, and history, and for them to receive instruction in the arts and music, vocational training, social sciences, health, physical education and foreign language, in accordance with their age and aptitude. 
An equal opportunity for a sound basic education acknowledges that students and districts are not fungible and takes into account districts with disproportionate numbers of disabled students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with limited English language skills. So long as the legislature is providing sufficient resources so that school districts offer students the equal opportunity for a sound basic education as required by the constitution, the state school finance system will pass constitutional muster." 614 N.W.2d 388, 396 (2000). (Emphasis mine)

Scott Walker, and the extreme right republicans like Robin Vos et al, have underfunded the schools, like Milwaukee and Racine, moving to make this a reality for all public schools “with disproportionate numbers of disabled students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with limited English language skills” and fail to “provide sufficient resources so that school districts offer students the equal opportunity for a sound basic education as required by the constitution”.

Robin Vos admits he is not an attorney and makes it clear what the plan is for the disabled students, the economically disadvantaged students and students with limited English language skills as he tries to sell the agenda to local school boards.

Politiscoop reported  last year on a conversation between Senator Ellis and Robin Vos: 
Ellis counters "Let me say this, I am a fan of the Milwaukee Parent Choice program, I am a fan of individuals who can't stand poverty to get the hell out of the public school system". 
It was this point that Vos says something about the Green Bay School District to which Ellis replies "I know, I mean we've got great school districts in the Fox Cities, the only one getting close to the margins is the Green Bay area. That's not even the Green Bay school district, its target schools because of the geographic disbursement you've got Preble out there that's got all the poor people. So when we are done with this bill, we modify it so that a segment of the school district may move into this program. Green Bay east is fine, west is fine, Preble is a sewer they've got the poverty possum. We need to not make it the entire school system, we need to make that Preble, that geographic quadrant and make it eligible like Milwaukee is for a voucher program." Vos replies "I'm okay with that". Ellis replies "So am I".

They convince the parents that vouchers are for the disabled students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with limited English language skills when in reality they have no intentions to serve those children.

It is an elaborate scheme I will give them that much. So now we understand the reason for the removal of the income cap on vouchers and the refusal to have any accountability to actually educate the children. The wealthy children will be going to the private schools with the tax funds intended to provide an equal education to ALL children and those “poverty possums” won’t be turned away, until the 3rd Friday counts are in and they get their taxpayer dollars.

It also states in our constitution: Transportation of school children. SECTION 23. [Ascreated April 1967] “Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from providing for the safety and welfare of children by providing for the transportation of children to and from any parochial or private school or institution of learning.” [1965J.R. 46, 1967 J.R. 13, vote April 1967]

There goes the transportation budget again.

Again, I have no problem with charter schools, private schools, parochial schools or parental choice that are transparent and integral. The problem comes in when there is no accountability to the taxpayers let alone the parents or the children.

Why would we want to do this?


  1. I would like to point out, for profit school teachers make significantly less money for their work than the public school teachers. So, those people my age (Gen X, and what a soft generation we are...even considering we are statistically invisible between Gen Boom and Gen Y) more interested in pulling their children from public schools than getting involved to help fix them, may want to consider this since most of us feel we can only influence things by where we spend our money.

    And, I would also like to point out, the more expensive private school on my side of town...requires a pedigreed child for even 5K. Now I'm not sure how the more monied parents mind their child's pedigree, but I can tell you what we've been able to do for our child on our income, was NOT enough to get her into that private school....which I was only researching for my "School Choice" project... We were told our child would not fit in, and, they know because they see lots of children. The price for 5K for that school? $14,995 for the school aid is available.

  2. Accurate take on the issue, Kelsey. I'm afraid things won't stop until public schools are warehouses run by non-degreed, low-salaried, child care workers for students with severe needs and students with families unable (see @Anonymous's comment)or unwilling to send them elsewhere. It's not a bright future.

  3. So taxpayers will be subsidizing wealthy parents who send their kids to unaccountable private school, while those same taxpayers are forced to send their kids to public schools that Vos (and his ilk) are destroying. IMHO...Vos is a racist.


  5. There are no stronger advocates for their children than Special Ed parents, their rights under PL94-142 evaporate when they enroll their children in private schools. This is a disaster on so many fronts.