Saturday, June 18, 2005

Voucher schools series in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From Jay Bullock, I find out his local paper(reg.) has been doggedly covering their voucher schools. It's a fine series and worth your while especially since Wisconsin is Ground Zero for the voucher school trend.

Lessons from the voucher schools
A question of accountability
Gut instinct guides parents' choices
Religious Schools are a Top Choice
Big C or little c catholic
It's all about relationships
Given the same choices, results can vary widely

1. After reading the series, I see no compelling evidence that voucher schools are on better overall than public schools. Like public schools, some voucher schools are fantastic; others suck. On the other hand, it seems clear to me vouchers boost the private religious schools, especially since they have been challenged with declining enrollment.

2. With the huge push for 'accountability' coming from NCLB, I think it is beyond hypocritical to not apply the same impossibly rigorous regimen for voucher schools since they receive public funding.

3. One unfortunate omission: the writers' refusal to cover the very obvious (right-wing) thinktank connection which, in my mind, makes the picture complete.

The 'largest and most influential' of the private right-wing foundations, the Bradley Foundation makes its home in Milwaukee. Not only has it been key to establishing vouchers for schools in Wisconsin, the Bradley Foundation created the voucher propaganda group, BAEO.

For reference, more on the Bradley Foundation, a key playa in the corporate/conservative think-tank complex fueling conservative policy making.