Saturday, March 01, 2008

Pretty Lies of the Voucher Vultures

There was a significant study released early this week that showed the city’s vaunted voucher "schools" were accomplishing just as much as (or even less than) garden-variety MPS schools. If you believe them in their usual anti-MPS mode, that means the voucher "schools" are accomplishing next to nothing. Profiteering voucher "school" advocates have fought for years against any testing or other forms of accountability for the child-warehouse program disguised as reform. Now that the comparisons have been made and the voucher program has been exposed as the tax-sucking profit-scam that it is, can we go back to getting those millions back in the public schools where it belongs?

Not so fast, say the voucher zealots. "This is the first chapter of a very long book," says the editorial board of the Journal Sentinel, which has sunk a lot of ink and credibility into the supposedly-wonderful program. Something tells me that, if the report showed even a slight benefit to children in the program, this study would have not been considered preliminary or incomplete – the same people would be jumping up and down about how wonderful and prescient they were/are and demanding an end to the discussion and an expansion of the program. Instead, they are forced to make excuses about over twelve years of lies and promises in pursuance of right-wing pie-in-the-sky.

You’d think, twelve years down the line, we’d be hearing about at least one voucher "school" success story. I would have expected by now we’d have seen Howard Fuller accompanying some 12-year voucher kid to his/her high school graduation, with a puff piece about what college the kid is going to and promises of a glowing future. I don’t think that kid exists.

The fact is that the voucher program has only benefitted three groups:
  • the Catholic and other religious schools that are participating in propping up their dying faith programs;
  • right-wing schemers who couldn’t care less about the education of inner-city children and are using the voucher program as a wedge to destroy public education; and
  • reprehensible scam-artists who establish a temporary warehouse, take the too-easy state money, and run.
The study should be the beginning of the end of this expensive nonsense. Instead, it has been used as an excuse by the usual suspects to recycle their pretty lies.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

12 years - a whole school life for kids. 1st thru 12th grade. A whole generation of kids that will be lost. Why did it take 12 years for the first study to be done that shows us this isn't working. This will be a shameful legacy for Milwaukee.

patrick said...

I think its fair to offer criticism of the voucher program, but I'd do so with less bigotted anti-religious language than some. The truth is that there are some terrible and poorly run voucher schools: lets weed them out and get rid of them. But lets also deal with the fact that MPS is a tragedy beyond the power of money to fix. Annoy remarks with a pathetic sigh that a whole generation is lost--but doesn't mention the obvious that several have been abandoned at MPS already. To be honest, we can't really blame MPS. Its a culture thing. Bad parents raise bad kids who are now having the next group of abandoned kids.... Same old story. The difference is twofold, however. Parents have made a choice to send their children to voucher schools, and the purpose of government is to secure liberty--choice for its citizens. Only those hypntized by the thin rhetoric of the WEAC cartel fail to see this. Secondly, assuming that these schools are only equal to MPS in test scores and other factors--criminality, teenaged pregnancy, drug use, attendance--then the taxpayer can at least note that voucher schools give us very little for less money than MPS schools do.

And, Mike, all schools are religious in nature. God is whatever you care about most: for too many of those 1st through 12th graders at MPS, the religion is hedonism.