Milwaukee’s School Voucher Scheme Doesn’t Work – Legislators Should Reject AB 92 and AB 94

5 May

Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin called upon the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee to reject two bills that will waste tax dollars on the failed Milwaukee school voucher program. In a letter to JFC co-chairs Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Robin Vos, the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Executive Director Christopher Ahmuty put the proposals in the context of forthcoming deep cuts in school aids from the state to local school districts, including Milwaukee. The letter is available online.

Regarding Assembly Bill 92 (PDF), which would lift the program enrollment cap and allow private schools anywhere in Milwaukee County to choose to participate, Ahmuty wrote “it is unconscionable for you to allow this failed program to waste even more taxpayer dollars.”

Assembly Bill 94 (PDF) makes several cosmetic changes to financial rules affecting the program. On a change in auditing standards, Ahmuty wrote, “It is unclear whether or not this proposal would be better than DPI’s current standards; much less satisfy the public’s legitimate interest in knowing that tax dollars are being used as the recipients claim.”

The ACLU of Wisconsin maintains that ideology, not sound educational practice, is behind school vouchers in Wisconsin and other states. In the face of severe cuts in spending on education, it asks why are vouchers growing at the expense of public schools which do a better job of educating our children?

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