After sitting through testimony on Senate Bill 76, a measure to make it easier for corporations to expand independent, for-profit charter schools across Wisconsin, committee member Senator Kathleen Vinehout said, "Our focus should be on a fair way to pay for public schools, not on siphoning off our local dollars for an out-of-state company to run a Wisconsin school."
In the column, Sen. Vinehout says people testified that "there is no evidence private charter schools have any better academic outcomes than public schools when compared on a level playing field." She cited accepted research that says "the real enemy of student's academic success is poverty."
Furthermore, she quoted testimony from one superintendent who said, "This bill is the key for private business to open the door and the fiscal death knell to the students who want to continue to attend public schools." A spokesperson for the Department of Public Instruction testified the cost for this for-profit education scheme "is born by nearly every other public school district in the state." Furthermore, DPI said "Wisconsin residents will likely see an increase -- perhaps significant -- in property taxes."
There it is: There is no evidence for-profit charters work, they will take resources away from our public school children, and they could mean a large tax increase. That is the recipe for failure, not good public policy.
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