At request of Janesville Education Association, school board votes to support Voucher Transparency Bill

At the request of the Janesville Education Association, the Janesville School Board this week voted, 9-0, to support the Wisconsin Taxpayer Voucher Transparency Bill. The bill would require school districts to inform local taxpayers of how much the private school voucher program is costing them. The resolution notes that, statewide, property taxes increased by over $25 million in 2016-17 due to school boards levying to offset lost aid due to the voucher system.

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Facebook founder’s attempts at school ‘reform’ fail

School “reforms” in New Jersey, funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, failed at providing meaningful change for students, a new review shows. Reports stating that the so-called “reforms” helped students were called into question by academic reviewers, who cautioned against the New Jersey experiment being replicated anywhere else. Specifically, claims of success were based on reports that omitted important factors for student learning and test score outcomes. Additional factors contributing to the failure in the Zuckerberg experiment included attempts to shut out teachers, parents and communities and support for expansion of privately run charter schools while shutting down community schools.

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The extremist and ultraconservative views taught at some taxpayer-funded voucher schools

The Huffington Post examines what some evangelical Christian schools – some largely funded with taxpayer money through vouchers – are teaching. It starts with an interview with a former student who attended multiple evangelical Christian schools where she was taught that to dance was to sin, that gay people were child molesters and that mental illness was a function of satanic influence. Teachers at her schools talked about slavery as black immigration, and instructors called environmentalists “hippie witches” and taught that Islam is a violent religion and evolution has “no real scientific basis.”

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Charter schools contribute to segregation, lack accountability and are failing students, new studies find

Charter schools contribute to segregation, lack accountability and are failing students, according to two new studies out this week. In one study, the Network for Public Education calls charter schools a “fiscal and educational disaster.” In the second study, the Associated Press says charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated — “an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools.”

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Voucher schools lack accountability and put students with disabilities at risk, federal study finds

Private schools funded through the taxpayer-financed voucher program generally fail to notify parents of students with disabilities that they are forfeiting rights and protections when they transfer from public schools, according a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report says vouchers schools lack accountability and transparency, and put students with disabilities – whose parents often don’t know they are giving up federal protections by enrolling in private schools – at greater risk.

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95 percent of Wisconsin public school districts meet or exceed expectations in new statewide ‘report card’

“On one hand, the vast majority of parents choose public schools for their students, and more than 95 percent of districts are meeting or exceeding expectations set forth on the report cards,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “On the other hand, there is a troubling number of voucher schools still unaccountable for performance – even though private school tuition is paid for by taxpayers. If Wisconsin is serious about school performance, legislators should focus and invest in the public schools that serve the majority of students instead of siphoning public school funds off to private voucher schools.”

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Republican tax plan is ‘giveaway to wealthiest paid for by students and working families’

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a multi-trillion dollar tax plan that funds tax breaks for the wealthiest and corporations on the backs of students and working families. The bill, championed by Republican leaders, eliminates a popular tax deduction that allows educators to deduct up to $250 of the money they spend on their classrooms and students. The bill also expands a tax loophole for the wealthiest to pay for private school expenses while cutting tax deductions for the middle class. The elimination of most of the state and local tax deductions would blow a hole in state and local revenue to support public education and risk funding for nearly 250,000 education jobs, including 4,680 in Wisconsin.

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Charts detail financial impact of private school vouchers on state’s public school districts

An organization called School Funding Reform For Wisconsin has compiled a series of informative charts that summarize the financial impact of taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs on public school districts throughout the state. The charts are grouped by Senate district.

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Private school voucher enrollment up 8 percent, cost to taxpayers is $270 million

Enrollment in Wisconsin private school vouchers programs increased nearly 8 percent this year and cost state taxpayers $270 million, an increase of $25.5 million over last year, according to figures released Monday by the Department of Public Instruction. Across the three programs – Milwaukee, Racine and statewide – a total of 36,249 students received a voucher to attend one of the 238 participating private schools. This is an increase of 2,684 students and 29 schools across the three programs compared to the prior school year.

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Review exposes faults in Walton family study calling for more private charters

A new analysis strikes down a Walton Family Foundation report that supports expanded public funding of private charter schools. The National Education Policy Center says the Walton study is flawed and based on biased data. In fact, privately run charter schools in most cases fall behind public schools when it comes to student performance despite the fact that public schools are open to students of all backgrounds.

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