"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, August 19, 2011

School Vouchers Fail Again

Last week a Colorado judge struck down yet another attempt to privatize and bleed out public schools with unconstitutional school vouchers:
DENVER (AP) — A Denver judge blocked Colorado's first school voucher program Friday, calling the program to give parents in the state's wealthiest county checks for tuition at religious schools a "substantial disservice to the public interest."

Denver District Judge Michael Martinez sided with a group of parents, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado and the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State. They asked for an injunction blocking the "Choice Scholarship Pilot Program" in Douglas County.

The voucher opponents argued the program violates the separation of church and state because it gives taxpayer money to parents for use at approved private schools, including some religious schools.

The judge noted that some of the schools authorized for Douglas vouchers require students to attend religious services. Martinez said the voucher program "violates both financial and religious provisions set forth in the Colorado constitution."
This week another study in Wisconsin has clearly shown, again, that the school voucher program is no better than the public schools that the program was designed to replace. 
State auditors on Wednesday confirmed a report that found little difference in test scores between students in Milwaukee's school-voucher program and those in the city's public schools.

Wisconsin lawmakers had asked the state Legislative Audit Bureau to evaluate a study, conducted by privately funded education researchers, that analyzed test scores from both groups of students. The study had found no significant difference, a conclusion that state auditors also reached.

The researchers studied the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, a voucher program that allows low-income children in Milwaukee to attend private schools at taxpayers' expense. The two-year budget signed by Gov. Scott Walker in June repealed the enrollment limit for voucher schools in Milwaukee and expanded vouchers to schools in suburban Milwaukee and Racine.

Supporters say the voucher option helps students whose only alternative might be a substandard public school, and gives them more control over their own education.

However, opponents say the voucher program hasn't proven any more effective at raising students' test scores. Critics, including Wisconsin state superintendent Tony Evers, have also opposed expanding the program, arguing that lawmakers should focus on improving achievement of all Wisconsin school children before using taxpayer money to bolster vouchers. . . . .

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