The Journal Sentinel continues its pro-voucher campaign this morning, informing us that "interest remains significant". How do they know? Because more voucher vultures are lining up to feed at the trough.
The story by pro-voucher beat reporter Alan Borsuk on the front page of the Metro section celebrates the fact that 34 individuals or groups (including some who, remarkably, have been kicked out of the program before) have applied to create "schools" that would receive voucher money, therefore adding to the burden of city of Milwaukee taxpayers. "But the 34 new applicants, combined with the 120 schools applying to continue in the largest voucher program in the United States, indicate that interest in opening - and, most likely, enrolling in - the private schools remains significant," writes Borsuk. Well, what's the news here? The state is handing out checks with low application standards and little oversight to anyone willing to claim to be educating kids in vacant warehouses. Since when doesn't that draw interest by those trying to make an easy buck?
When the right-wing agenda's pet project voucher scheme was enacted by always-helpful Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1990, the discussion was primarily focused on the public money that would go to religious schools. It was a surprise, then, to find that the program also enabled "schools" that never existed to spring up just for the purpose of taking voucher money. This led to several public embarassments - such as that surrounding Alex's Academics of Excellence, a joke of a pretend-school, and the Mandela School, which besmerched the memory of the great South African leader by leasing a Mercedes for its CEO - and, I'm sure, many private nightmares that never made it to the public eye. It's not like the J-S is going to help expose the travesties of its pet program. They've been making excuses and looking the other way from problems in the program for so long, they have a permanent case of whiplash.
None of the 34 new "schools" applying to get in on the voucher money scam exist now and none that are not approved will exist next year. This is not the "free education market" voucher proponents brag about - it's publicly-funded corporate socialism, like the defense industry. There is little difference between the legendary $6,000 toilets of the defense industry and the $6,000-per-child being thrown at the voucher "schools". Most of that good public money is still going right down the same drain.