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  • Walker's Next Smart Move: Expanding School Choice in Wisconsin

    Governor Scott Walker (R–WI) is in the news for suggesting an overhaul of public-sector collective bargaining, but in the midst of the controversy he has also offered a great proposal to expand school choice.

    Walker’s biennial budget proposes expanding school choice in Wisconsin, including charter schools and vouchers. Most significantly, the budget lifts the cap on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the nation’s oldest voucher program. More than 20,000 low-income students currently receive vouchers in Milwaukee, and lifting the cap would ensure that all low-income students in the city have access to safe and effective schools that meets their needs. Walker stated:

    In addition, we will expand choice and charter programs to insure that every kid gets a great education—no matter what zip code they live in. We lift the cap on the number of students eligible to participate in the Milwaukee parental choice program and phase out the income eligibility limits. And across the state, we allow any University of Wisconsin system four-year campus to create a charter school.

    Walker’s budget proposal also works to restore fiscal restraint in the state’s education spending. From 2000 to 2007, state spending on public education increased more than 32 percent, from $6.8 billion to more than $9 billion. Per-pupil expenditures in Wisconsin public schools now exceed the national average at more than $10,700.

    Many states are facing economic turmoil and are faced with the reality of making long-overdue budget cuts to control spending and keep their fiscal houses in order. As Walker said to the state legislature earlier this week with his biennial budget proposal, which seeks to pay down some of the Badger State’s $4 billion deficit:

    We must work together to bring our spending in line with reality. We were elected—not to make the easy decisions to benefit ourselves—but to make the difficult ones that will benefit our children and grandchildren.

    Walker is continuing Wisconsin’s long tradition of providing school choice options to parents. He is transforming the education system in a way that will better equip students for a bright future. It’s yet another bold move in what have been a series of proposals to put more power back in the hands of teachers and families. Wisconsin is showing that it can rise to the challenge of meeting students’ educational needs.

    Anissa Borchardt is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Walker's Next Smart Move: Expanding School Choice in Wisconsin

    1. Kevin H, college par says:

      I presume Heritage is going to come out against Gov. Walker and his proposal to do away with collective bargaining, correct? All the polls show the vast majority of people of WI are against his proposal and since you continually point to polls as biggest reason to repeal and replace health reform, I can only imagine you'll be consitent in viewing polls as the all powerful and be against Gov. Walker's actions – as most of the state and country are.

    2. adam says:

      Wow what a well written analysis on what is going on with education in wisconsin. Hopefully governor walker will succeed and be able to expand school choice to all students in wisconsin. Thanks again for putting out a well informed article.

    3. DanJ says:

      Walker should have no problem convincing the Milwaukee teachers. A 2004 Thomas B. Fordham Institute study found that 29.4% of the Milwaukee public school teachers chose to send thier own kids to private schools where the teachers make a fraction of their own compensation.

      Funny – Likely 100% of the Democrats in D.C., including Obama, send thier children to private schools. And these are the biggest opponents to school choice and supporters of the teachers unions.

    4. Rich, Marshall, WI says:

      Glad to see you have joined the ranks of 'socialists'. You know…government know-betters taking from one person and giving to another.

      Cutting $900 million from public schools to subsidize private skewls where teachers will be considered properly educayted with only a Bachelor's…in anything.

      Of course, those same private schools won't have to take 'Robbie the retard', or 'Jessie, the daughter of crack cocaine parents', or Billy, whose dad's job was outsourced to Mexico two years ago. Nope, the private schools will get to pick and choose…with public dollars supporting them.

      ACLU….are you on this?

      Yup, you socialists really have it together alrightee.

    5. Alex says:


    6. Pingback: » Financial and World News Update – 03/07/11 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    7. Bobbie says:

      I wonder how a poll can be accurate when it involves government unions, and union employees against the tax payers that unknowingly and unfairly pay whatever is bargained for? I wouldn't trust these easily skewed polls for a moment.

      God Bless Governor Walker. He knows America and her state of Wisconsin. He stands for her principles, morals and ethics. He does what it takes to bring back these values. He is a man of the people, for the people and by the people! He does what's honest and best for the parents and students regarding government run public education. God Bless his administration and all who exemplify true American leadership.

    8. Bobbie says:

      …and true to their oath they've vowed to protect, the People's Constitution…true American leadership!

    9. Terry Stiffler, Orla says:

      God Bless you Governer Walker

      Lets bring God, Common Sense and Fiscal responsibilty back to this country. Keep up the good work!

      I was born at Mac Dill AFB and grew up in St. Petersburg/Clearwater beach, I currently work for a company that does a large amount of business with schools around the world, some of the crazy spending I have noted:

      School buses, why do they need to be air condistioned, have tinted windows and bike carriers; these style of buses cost 450K each what is wrong with a 80K busto get the job accomplished like I use to ride?

      Computers, the kids learn enough computer skills from their homes, stick to books , hand written assignments and paper test; the parents have no problem buying them cell phones, computers should be the same.

      You get the picture and ask yourself when was the last time you had a kid knock on your door and ask to mow your lawn or shovel your driveway, and we wonder why everyone has their hands out………its how they are brought up.


    10. Pingback: The Most Exciting Two Minutes in School Choice | The Foundry

    11. allen says:

      Terry, I had a young man knock on my door, wanted to mow the Lawn, after he had seen me with my new Toro, He proposed a deal for me. I will come every two weeks on mon. evening, I will use your new mower, and edger, I do not gas up the mower, or empty the catcher, or wash it, I will charge twenty-five dollars, If it happens to rain or is cloudy I will not mow, You will still pay me for that monday, when we go on vacation you have to pay me half of the agreed price, For me to hold that space open for you. I asked what do your folks do for a living," They are both TEACHERS". " Nuts don't fall to far from the Trees". Do they..

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