Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Milwaukee's Voucher Schools Shackled by Taxpayer Accountability Says State Sen. Lazich

While the bar continues to get higher and higher for public schools, voucher advocates are trying to lower the bar and convince taxpayers that accountability is not important in the private school sector. How else could you explain the following irresponsible comment from State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) from Muskegonow? To her, the list of qualifications she provides are unnecessarily high for private schools receiving hard working taxpayer money:

Choice schools could be required to administer the 4th, 8th, and 10th grade knowledge and concepts examination approved by the state Superintendent.

Credentials would be required for choice school staff.

Teacher’s aides at choice schools must have graduated from high school, been granted a declaration of equivalency of high school graduation, or been issued a general education development certificate of high school equivalency.

Choice schools with enrollments of more than 10% limited-English proficient pupils would be required to have a bilingual-bicultural education program.

When choice pupils transfer to MPS in mid-year after a (private) school closing, MPS would receive the state’s share of any choice payments for that school year that have not been paid to the choice school on behalf of that pupil.

For most taxpayers, Lazich's list would be a minimum starting point for any school that's accountable to the public. These are common sense standards for gods sake. But a qaulity education is not the end game for Republicans who have been trying to do away with public education for decades. That's why private schools should be free to do anything it wants with our money.

Lazich: "It is clear the Joint Finance Committee meant to punish school choice with measures designed to systematically unravel and eradicate the program.

The National Review sums it up best:

“The enemies of school choice in Madison know exactly what they’re doing. In the name of ‘accountability,’ they attack the quality of voucher schools with deadly precision. The goal is to make them as mediocre as the public schools they routinely outperform — and to leave parents, once again, without a choice.”

Yes, in the name of “accountability” choice schools should have at least some measure of quality and justification for taking taxpayer money. It’s almost humorous to see how conservatives switch from the importance of accountability for public schools, to the private sectors need to be free from accountability.

Republican State Sen. Lazich seems to be making the argument that accountability will hold back private schools receiving vouchers, while the reverse is true of our public schools systems.

Obviously, you can’t have it both ways, except if your aim is to destroy our public schools.

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