Category Archive: charter schools

Oct 16

Taxpayers’ bill for private voucher schools soars to $350 million

Wisconsin taxpayers will be spending $349.6 million to support private schools this year through the state’s voucher program, up from $302 million last year, according to figures released by the Department of Public Instruction. According to DPI, the taxpayer-funded voucher programs will support a total of 43,450 private school students this year, up from 40,039 students last year.

May 28

Despite serious problems and a lack of research support, virtual schools continue to spread

Lawmakers throughout the nation continue to support the spread of virtual schools despite the fact that research reveals overwhelming evidence of poor performance, according to a new review by the National Education Policy Center. Given the evidence, the review recommends that policymakers slow or stop the growth in the number of virtual and blended schools and the size of their enrollments until the reasons for their relatively poor performance have been identified and addressed.

Oct 30

Voucher program enrollment up 8.7 percent, cost soars to $302 million

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s three taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs rose 8.7 percent this year, while the cost soared 12.3 percent to $302 million, according to a report released Tuesday by the Department of Public Instruction. Across the three programs (Milwaukee, Racine and statewide), 39,381 students received a voucher to attend one of the 279 participating private schools. That is an increase of 3,164 students and 43 schools compared to last school year. The cost of the three programs combined is estimated at $302 million for the 2018-19 school year, which is an increase of about $33 million (12.3 percent) from the prior year.

Aug 13

Private school voucher backers top $7.5 million in donations to Wisconsin politicians

With the latest round of state campaign finance reports in, backers of the private school voucher program have larded the campaign accounts of politicians willing to do their bidding with $7.5 million in campaign contributions since 2008. Leading the pack, and hauling in more than 1 of every 4 dollars donated, is Governor Scott Walker with a total take in excess of $2.165 million. “The people writing these checks want to see more private school vouchers,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker has more than delivered, draining resources away from public K-12 schools and sending them to the less accountable private voucher schools favored by the donors who’ve dumped over $2 million into his campaign coffers.”

Apr 10

‘No-excuses’ charter schools could do more harm than good, analysis finds

“No-excuses” charter schools – which promote strict disciplinary policies, longer school days, and intensive academic tutoring at the expense of the arts and physical education – could do more harm than good, according to a new review by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. “While supporters of ‘no-excuses’ charter schools say these practices improve student achievement, they fail to acknowledge the potential negative effects these practices have on students, teachers, and families,” according to the report.

Mar 22

Vouchers are far worse for student achievement than previously thought, analysis concludes

A new analysis by the Center for American Progress concludes that private school vouchers are more harmful to student achievement than previously thought and that students attending private voucher schools miss out on approximately one-third of a year of classroom learning. “This analysis builds on a large body of voucher program evaluations in Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., all of which show that students attending participating private schools perform significantly worse than their peers in public schools—especially in math,” according to the summary titled The Highly Negative Impacts of Vouchers.

Feb 06

Examination finds ‘significant concerns’ over Education Savings Accounts

A new policy brief published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) examines the emergence of ESA policies and makes recommendations for policy makers who are considering adopting or expanding these programs. The policy brief, The State of Education Savings Account Programs in the United States, found significant concerns with ESA programs and a stunning lack of research evidence to support ongoing calls for continued expansion. 

Dec 14

Facebook founder’s attempts at school ‘reform’ fail

School “reforms” in New Jersey, funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, failed at providing meaningful change for students, a new review shows. Reports stating that the so-called “reforms” helped students were called into question by academic reviewers, who cautioned against the New Jersey experiment being replicated anywhere else. Specifically, claims of success were based on reports that omitted important factors for student learning and test score outcomes. Additional factors contributing to the failure in the Zuckerberg experiment included attempts to shut out teachers, parents and communities and support for expansion of privately run charter schools while shutting down community schools.

Dec 08

The extremist and ultraconservative views taught at some taxpayer-funded voucher schools

The Huffington Post examines what some evangelical Christian schools – some largely funded with taxpayer money through vouchers – are teaching. It starts with an interview with a former student who attended multiple evangelical Christian schools where she was taught that to dance was to sin, that gay people were child molesters and that mental illness was a function of satanic influence. Teachers at her schools talked about slavery as black immigration, and instructors called environmentalists “hippie witches” and taught that Islam is a violent religion and evolution has “no real scientific basis.”

Dec 04

Charter schools contribute to segregation, lack accountability and are failing students, new studies find

Charter schools contribute to segregation, lack accountability and are failing students, according to two new studies out this week. In one study, the Network for Public Education calls charter schools a “fiscal and educational disaster.” In the second study, the Associated Press says charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated — “an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools.”

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