NEWS BLOG (WSAU) The
Wisconsin School Choice Program is a success story. But you need to watch what’s
Here’s the history: the beginnings of the school voucher
program were planted in 1990 in
And now, out of left field, comes a letter from the Justice
Department’s Human Rights Division. They allege that some private schools that
accept vouchers are more-likely to expel and less-likely to enroll disabled
Private schools do, indeed, get to pick and choose which students they allow to attend. And private schools may not be able to have all the staff and programs for students with learning disabilities to succeed. When a private school accepts a student, for instance, with ADHD, it’s entirely possible that the student won’t succeed there and will wind up being suspended or gets kicked out. The Justice Department says that’s a human-rights violation.
There are several bad outcomes from the DOJ letter. First, private schools will be more reluctant to be a part of the voucher program. They can avoid the fight by dropping out. The alternative is to accept new regulations from the state or the Feds which would fall on them only because they do accept vouchers. Or the state could pick a fight, and allow the matter to go to court. Governor Walker wisely wants to avoid this. It’s unwise to litigate against a deep-pocketed opponent. The other alternative is to make changes to state law and state school regulations that satisfy the DOJ’s objections. This is the best of the bad options. The DOJ would essentially take over the school voucher program. They could shut it down if the state doesn’t comply.
What are the Feds really angling for here? The clue comes
from 2009, when the Obama Administration’s Department of Education made one of
its first decisions of the new administration. They shut down
Supporters of school vouchers would like to see Scott Walker
stand tall and defend the program. Truth is, the DOJ has a stronger hand, and
can stay in the fight longer. If that’s the situation, should