Here's what Walker said last night in his budget speech:
For communities where some schools fail to meet expectations, we include an expansion of the parental choice program in this budget. Since wealthy families have a choice because they can pay to send their children to a private school, we give low income and middle class families an opportunity to also choose a viable alternative for their sons and daughters.People in Madison like to think we have fabulous public schools, so it's rough seeing Madison grouped with those other places. And of course, people in Madison tend to loathe Governor Walker. Obviously, the liberal viewpoint is that if there's a problem with the public schools, more money should be given to those public schools, not diverted into private schools. Here's the discussion in the forum over at the Isthmus, where liberal Madisonians tend to talk amongst themselves (and where Meade injects a bit of the kind of diversity they don't celebrate). I love the way the separation-of-church-and-state topic is playing out. First:
Interestingly, some communities have both high-performing schools, as well as some that fail to meet expectations. Green Bay is a good example. Keller Elementary in Green Bay is a school where more than 70 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, yet Keller Elementary exceeds expectations. In this budget, schools like this will be eligible for a performance reward. At the same time, in that same district, there are other schools that fail to meet expectations. Other districts like Madison, Beloit, Sheboygan, and West Allis/West Milwaukee have similar situations.
Does it bother you that taxpayer money will be spent for sectarian religious instruction?Someone else:
If my kid went to a school with overcrowded classrooms and wasn't getting the attention he or she needed for whatever reason, I wouldn't hesitate sending him to a Catholic school if I could for free. Would you? Would you put up with a crappy classroom just because you didn't want your kid to take a half-hour of Bible study each day? I don't know many parents who would in a similar situation....A third person (boldface added):
I don't think anybody's really upset about vouchers to send kids to Catholic schools. The Catholic schools can't take many more kids, but they are run by local parishes and nuns with good intentions and without a profit motive. It's not foremost a constitutional issue but a quality one. We're upset about a bunch of profit-motive business types setting up private schools to make money for themselves by providing services that work poorly and exploit public funding the same way the University of Phoenix does with adult students. Why anybody thinks replacing so-called overpaid teachers with overpaid executives is an improvement beats me. And that's exactly what we'll get if we don't guard against it at every turn.The lefties really hate business! Meade provides the comic pushback. Quoting "bunch of profit-motive business types":
But enough about the teachers' unions. School choice is coming to Madison. Choice is good.