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Mike McCabe: Support of vouchers driven by lots more money

Mike McCabe: Support of vouchers driven by lots more money

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In his Friday letter, “Money and power drive opponents of vouchers," Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, claimed those wanting performance report cards for private schools receiving public funds under Wisconsin's voucher program are under the spell of the powerful “education bureaucracy.”

When the state started handing out vouchers in Milwaukee 23 years ago, supporters promised it would boost the achievement of poor students. It hasn’t. Test scores show students getting vouchers to attend private schools are doing no better than public school students.

Voucher backers also promised the program would create competition to breed innovation and system change. That hasn’t happened. Statewide report cards show Milwaukee schools are alone in receiving the lowest overall grade “fails to meet expectations.”

When a government program doesn’t work, it should end. Yet after failing to deliver on its promises, the voucher program was expanded by lawmakers.

Why does the voucher program still have so much support? Over the last 10 years, pro-voucher interests have poured $97 million into Wisconsin elections. Anti-voucher forces spent $10.5 million during that time.

Nass says opposition to vouchers is driven by money and power. Support for vouchers is driven by that same kind of money and power -- times nine.

-- Mike McCabe, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

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