Voucher School Report Cards Could Accompany Expansion - WBAY

Voucher School Report Cards Could Accompany Expansion

Updated:

Governor Walker's office says in addition to an expansion of the school choice program, he's pushing for more accountability, too.

The proposal released Monday would expand school vouchers to nine Wisconsin school districts, including Green Bay, Found du Lac and Sheboygan in Northeast Wisconsin.

It allows qualified students to receive a taxpayer-funded voucher to attend private school.

Publicly, the Governor's office is making it known he supports every voucher school being graded, just like the new public school report cards administered by the Department of Public Instruction.

In fact, a bad report card is a major factor for public schools to qualify for vouchers.

Opponents of school choice have long argued that private voucher schools aren't accountable like public ones.

"Those schools are not controlled by democratically-elected school boards," Bob Peterson said, president of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association. "They're not subjected to open meeting, open records laws."

Private voucher schools in Milwaukee and Racine receiving taxpayer dollars are exempt from the new DPI report cards.

If a provision to include voucher schools isn't in the Governor's budget proposal, Action 2 News has learned the accountability portion could be separate legislation, leading to debate among pro-voucher lawmakers.

"Yea, see I want more innovation," Assembly speaker Robin Vos said when asked about whether every school receiving taxpayer money should be on the same page. "The idea of saying one size fits all, we know that doesn't work."

But other Republicans, who control both the Assembly and Senate, are open to new standards.

"I think accountability needs to be there on both sides," Rep. John Nygren said, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. "So if the vouchers schools aren't making the grade, they should be held accountable as well."

Governor Walker will introduce his full budget to a joint session of the legislature Wednesday at 7pm.

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