"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hypocrisy in the Wisconsin Governors Office

Corporate reformers would have you believe that test scores separate the good from the bad -- the good schools from the bad, the good teachers from the bad, even the good countries from the bad. They maintain that test scores mean everything and that in order to improve the test scores all we need to do is get rid of bad teachers and the even badder teachers unions. Politicians, too, have chosen to follow this plan.

It's especially interesting then, that Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), while demanding that public schools score higher and higher on tests has led the state to slash funding for public schools. In addition, he now wants to expand vouchers. But if test scores are so important, why would he expand vouchers? Right Wing Watch writes,
...Numerous studies have shown that vouchers failed to make any difference in student performance. Just like in Washington, DC and Cleveland, private school vouchers in Milwaukee failed to produce the gains their supporters promised...with students in the Milwaukee voucher program actually performing worse than comparable public school students.

...now Republican Gov. Scott Walker wants to expand the ineffective voucher program while cutting funds to public schools. And so much for the emphasis on testing -- voucher students will now be exempted from the tests that revealed the program’s failure.

...That’s right, even though voucher students are “lagging behind their peers in public schools,” voucher programs are being rewarded with expansion while public schools are punished with cuts. With little care for accountability and testing, this move by Walker and the Wisconsin GOP demonstrates how the push for private school vouchers is really about the Right’s ideological war against public education.
We know it's not about the money. When the teachers in Wisconsin offered to give in to the Legislature's and Governor's fiscal demands to save collective bargaining, the legislature took all the fiscal measures out of the bill and cut collective bargaining anyway.

Now we see that it's not even about test scores. It didn't matter that the voucher students did no better than public school students. They aren't even going to have to take the tests in the future...

This is just another step toward the total privatization of public education. It's as simple as that.

More from Ruth Conniff in the Progressive:
What's the real goal of Walker's stripped-down education "reforms"?

"The real agenda is to dismantle public education through privatization schemes..."
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