Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stunning Milwaukee failure

Last Friday I posted some information about the very few existing voucher experiments around the country, in order to get some perspective about the proposed Utah voucher law.

So today when I scanned through the various blogs keeping track of the voucher "discussion", I spotted Accountability First's entry today about the latest research on the Milwaukee voucher experiment.

WOW. To have Howard Fuller, one of the leaders of the voucher movement, and the conservative Wisconsin Research Policy Institute say that vouchers haven't worked for Milwaukee students is an absolutely stunning admission of failure.

Competition didn't improve student performance, or the public schools. Lack of oversight led to fraud and abuse (and fly-by-night schools). AND, Milwaukee taxpayers have been forced to foot the bill with ever increasing property taxes to pay for the voucher program.

It's all there for us to learn from. The dismal failure of vouchers in Milwaukee is reason enough to reject them in Utah.

Here's the full story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. I encourage anyone still undecided how to vote on Referendum 1 to read this.

And I sincerely hope that Paul Rolly, or Glen Warchol at the Trib or Tiffany Erickson at the News will put some hard questions before the parade of out-of-staters that the Sutherland Institute is bringing in to try to bolster the failing voucher effort.

And I hope all the business leaders who are trying to intimidate their employees into voting for vouchers will really check the record on tax increases in Milwaukee. School vouchers caused taxes to go up. As the Journal-Sentinel reported here:

"In a letter last week to state Rep. Sheldon Wasserman (D-Milwaukee), Milwaukee School Board President Joe Dannecker said that $7.6 million of the $16.5 million increase in the amount of property tax to be collected for schools for this school year is due to the voucher program and that each voucher student increased property tax collections by $447, while each MPS student increased collections by $91. The total property tax bill being levied by MPS increased this fall by 7.7%."

Vouchers are a dismal failure.

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