Taxpayers’ bill for private voucher schools soars to $350 million

Wisconsin taxpayers will be spending $349.6 million to support private schools this year through the state’s voucher program, up from $302 million last year, according to figures released by the Department of Public Instruction. According to DPI, the taxpayer-funded voucher programs will support a total of 43,450 private school students this year, up from 40,039 students last year.

Read More...

Despite serious problems and a lack of research support, virtual schools continue to spread

Lawmakers throughout the nation continue to support the spread of virtual schools despite the fact that research reveals overwhelming evidence of poor performance, according to a new review by the National Education Policy Center. Given the evidence, the review recommends that policymakers slow or stop the growth in the number of virtual and blended schools and the size of their enrollments until the reasons for their relatively poor performance have been identified and addressed.

Read More...

Voucher program enrollment up 8.7 percent, cost soars to $302 million

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s three taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs rose 8.7 percent this year, while the cost soared 12.3 percent to $302 million, according to a report released Tuesday by the Department of Public Instruction. Across the three programs (Milwaukee, Racine and statewide), 39,381 students received a voucher to attend one of the 279 participating private schools. That is an increase of 3,164 students and 43 schools compared to last school year. The cost of the three programs combined is estimated at $302 million for the 2018-19 school year, which is an increase of about $33 million (12.3 percent) from the prior year.

Read More...

Private school voucher backers top $7.5 million in donations to Wisconsin politicians

With the latest round of state campaign finance reports in, backers of the private school voucher program have larded the campaign accounts of politicians willing to do their bidding with $7.5 million in campaign contributions since 2008. Leading the pack, and hauling in more than 1 of every 4 dollars donated, is Governor Scott Walker with a total take in excess of $2.165 million. “The people writing these checks want to see more private school vouchers,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker has more than delivered, draining resources away from public K-12 schools and sending them to the less accountable private voucher schools favored by the donors who’ve dumped over $2 million into his campaign coffers.”

Read More...

‘No-excuses’ charter schools could do more harm than good, analysis finds

“No-excuses” charter schools – which promote strict disciplinary policies, longer school days, and intensive academic tutoring at the expense of the arts and physical education – could do more harm than good, according to a new review by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. “While supporters of ‘no-excuses’ charter schools say these practices improve student achievement, they fail to acknowledge the potential negative effects these practices have on students, teachers, and families,” according to the report.

Read More...