(MADISON) Representative Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains) and Representative Fred Clark (D-Sauk City) released the following statement regarding the rumored budget deal struck by Republican legislative leaders and Governor Walker for Wisconsin’s schools.
“Expanding the unaccountable private school voucher program statewide is an ideologically driven decision that does not help improve the educational outcomes of Wisconsin students,” said Rep. Pope. “As recent peer-reviewed evidence has demonstrated (link), the ‘gold-standard’ studies we have relied upon to make decisions about the voucher program do not even begin to tell the whole story. If we were truly interested in improving student outcomes and helping drive achievement, we would be closing the failing schools already participating in the Milwaukee and Racine voucher programs.”
“It’s sad to think that for the last four months, while the fourth graders have been visiting the capitol to learn about open government and our citizen legislature, well-paid lobbyists like former speakers John Gard and Jeff Fitzgerald were cutting deals behind closed doors to grease the skids for private, for-profit schools,” Rep. Clark said. “How are Republican legislators going to go back to their districts and explain to their voters that they caved to special interests and private schools instead of increasing support for their community schools?”
“We have the opportunity to begin to restore the $1.6 billion that was taken from our public schools during the last budget,” continued Rep. Pope. “This decision is about priorities and it is clear that the Republican leadership would rather continue to grow the subsidy the state provides to private schools than the help the public schools that educate all of our children.”
“This is no deal for Public schools,” said Rep. Clark. “This is the continuation of a downward spiral for public education that is destroying the fabric of Wisconsin communities. And it is especially tragic because it’s so reckless, and completely avoidable. Our kids deserve better than to have their own schools essentially sold off to the highest bidders.”