Tuesday, March 29, 2011

After 21 years Vouchers Do Worse, or in a few cases, the same as Public Schools. Hey, Let's give out more vouchers...

Here's part of the story just posted at jsonline. It's bad news for vouchers, but that won't change the Walker administrations mind to expand the program with no taxpayer accountability or testing: 
Students in Milwaukee's school choice program performed worse than or about the same as students in Milwaukee Public Schools in math and reading on the latest statewide test, according to results released Tuesday that provided the first apples-to-apples achievement comparison between public and individual voucher schools. 
The scores released by the state Department of Public Instruction cast a shadow on the overall quality of the 21-year-old Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which was intended to improve results for poor city children in failing public schools by allowing them to attend higher-performing private schools with publicly funded vouchers. The scores also raise concerns about Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to roll back the mandate that voucher schools participate in the current state test.
That wouldn't make much sense, but then, everything Walker does is purely ideological. Get this: 
"These results reinforce the need to continue using the same test for all students," state Superintendent Tony Evers said in a news release. 
Howard Fuller, former MPS superintendent and a voucher-school supporter, echoed the need to keep using the state exam.

Voucher supporters started to whine instantly with the most pathetic excuse yet:
They also say that the latest test scores are an incomplete measure of voucher-school performance because they don't show the progress those schools are making with a difficult population of students over time.
Milwaukee has given the voucher program 21 years to show some progress. 21 YEARS. Check out how far behind voucher schools are in math:
The big news for those plugged into the education world, however, was the choice vs. public school results in Milwaukee. MPS results overall showed 59% of students scoring proficient or better in reading, while 47.8% of students scored proficient or better in math. In the voucher program, 55.2% of students scored proficient or better in reading while 34.4% of students scored proficient or better in math. 
The percentage of low-income students in MPS proficient or better in reading - 55.3% - was about the same as the voucher program, which currently serves only low-income students.
Voucher supporter Howard Fuller made it perfectly clear, again, the truth about Walker's ridiculous plan to spend taxpayer money on vouchers without accountability and testing, and the fact that free market private schools haven't panned out like many originally thought.
"I think it's unfortunate that the governor's budget (proposes going) back to the old system, because I was hoping that this year would be a baseline," Fuller said.  
Fuller also said that the free-market ideas upon which the voucher program was founded - that academically superior schools will thrive because parents will choose them over lousy schools - has not been borne out over the past two decades, and is not evident in the results of the state test.
These tests were urgently needed to inform parents convinced that vouchers would be the great answer to their child education, to think again, and question why Republican support a program with such a low success rate. 
The results show some private schools with less than 20% of their voucher students scoring proficient or better in math or reading. Some of them are institutions that probably would not exist if not for the support of public tax dollars. 
Of course this administration isn't interested in sound state management. Walker is rolling out the grand conservative wish list of failed policies Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman pushed. 
From Madison, a spokesman for Walker said it was not likely the governor would reconsider his push to expand the choice program based on the results of the state test scores. "Empowering parents by providing them with additional options will ultimately improve education for all children by encouraging competition," spokesman Cullen Werwie said in an e-mail. 
Empowering parents to choose a school for their child based on promotional flyers claiming whatever the private schools can make up? Buyer beware? That's empowerment?

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