Kim Fitzer’s daughter, Trinity, was attending kindergarten at Northwest Catholic School in Milwaukee with a voucher from the state for the 2011-12 school year. But Trinity, then 6, had gastrointestinal problems and anxiety — conditions Fitzer said the private school was ill equipped to address.

Fitzer said the school repeatedly called her to pick up Trinity, saying she was “out of control.” After Trinity knocked papers to the floor and kicked a teacher who tried to restrain her, Fitzer was told the girl no longer was welcome at the school.

Northwest Catholic Principal Michelle Paris said in an email statement that “every decision was made in the very best interest of the child with mutual agreement of our school leadership and the parent.”

But Fitzer said it was not her decision, and she “didn’t have an option.”

Trinity transferred to a Milwaukee public school, where she has received special education services that address her anxiety as a disability.

Under the state’s parental choice program, Northwest Catholic received a $6,442 voucher for Trinity’s enrollment in the private school, but the public school got no extra money for taking her through the end of the school year. Critics of school choice, and a pending federal lawsuit, charge that students with disabilities, such as Trinity, are being underserved by publicly funded vouchers meant to give low-income students in Milwaukee and Racine the chance of a private education.

In the 2012-13 school year, Milwaukee’s longstanding choice program served almost 25,000 students and cost $155 million, paid mostly by the state and partially by Milwaukee Public Schools, according to preliminary numbers from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Racine’s two-year-old program served about 500 students and cost $3.2 million.

With choice programs poised to go statewide, some lawmakers have voiced concern that students with disabilities will be left behind.

“The problem with the voucher program is that it cherry-picks which students it’s going to take,” said Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine. “That’s not really a public education system when you’re not opening it up to everyone and giving everyone a chance to participate.”

Part of a pattern

A block from Northwest Catholic is Hawthorne Elementary, a public school. Social worker Jane Audette said the school receives several “cast-off” students every year from private schools who must be evaluated for special education services.

Often students leave choice schools after the annual fall headcount on the third Friday in September, which determines how much funding the voucher schools get in the first semester, public school officials say. A second enrollment tally is taken in January.

“We have seen that children with behavioral issues are signed into a voucher school and once they get past the third Friday — the Kodak moment for determining headcount — there’s a phenomena that occurs that students are no longer able to participate in the private school,” said Gary Myrah, executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services.

Though choice schools cannot deny enrollment to a student on the basis of disability, they do not have a legal requirement to meet a student’s special needs, as public schools do.

Two nonprofit groups advocating for students with disabilities — Disability Rights Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union — filed a lawsuit against the state in 2011 alleging discrimination by voucher schools. In April, responding to the complaint, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter directing the state Department of Public Instruction to collect more information about alleged incidences of discrimination.

Leaving choice schools

For the 2012-13 school year, Milwaukee choice schools reported that about 1.5 percent of their students had disabilities, according to DPI, while about 20 percent of MPS students did. (Others say choice schools have more students with disabilities who are not identified or counted.)

At the same time, nearly one-third of the 400-plus students who left Milwaukee choice schools for MPS in the first few months of the school year were students with disabilities, according to MPS data made public by the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope, an interfaith organization that wants to expose the practice.

The data represent only students who went to the MPS Office of Family Services for assistance in transferring, so they are not comprehensive.

Choice schools say at $6,442 per voucher, they cannot afford to serve students whose needs exceed that amount. Public schools spent an average of $12,376 per student in the 2011-12 school year, DPI reported.

Recognizing that it can cost more to support students with disabilities, Gov. Scott Walker initially proposed allocating more than $20 million over the next two years specifically for special education students to attend charter, private or nonresident public schools.

The vouchers would have been worth more than twice the usual amount. The proposal was removed from the budget, but choice advocates hope to take it up separately in the fall.

“Schools want to be able to educate more special needs students,” said Scott Jensen, senior adviser for the American Federation for Children, a group that promotes school choice. “It’s a matter of funding, and that’s what the scholarship program is designed for.”

At Hickman Academy in Milwaukee, where all of the students this year were on vouchers, the school cannot afford a psychologist, speech therapist or special education teachers, said the school secretary, Nicole Johnson.

“When we get the children and start working with them, a month or two of school goes by, and we start to see the problems, and see we need to get some help for these children — something is wrong,” Johnson said.

She said parents may be referred to schools with special education services.

For Trinity, the transition from a choice school to Milwaukee’s Gilbert Stuart Elementary, a public school, has been good. She has a formal educational plan, is in a small class to help with her anxiety and has a teacher with special education training.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Assistant City Editor, Wisconsin State Journal

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(77) comments

I wonder what Trinity's Father thinks about this? Why no quotes from him in the article? MMMMN, maybe that is part of the problem here?
The little girl was "out of control" according to the voucher school. Most of the behavioral problems in All schools are due to poor parenting. The public schools deal with these kids because they have NO choice. That is the sad reality. What we need to address these kinds of issues for ALL schools is that all teh responsibility is not on the back of the School. Teh schools are required by law to take the kid and provide an education.....even if the kid causes trouble, distracts everyone else, refuses to show up, or pay attention, or try, or turn in any homework. Then the school is blamed for their failure. We must begin to put the responsibility for the kid back onto the Parents! If your kid isn't showing up, or isn't doing the work the parents need to be fined. We cannot continue to spend $12-13K per kid to provide an education and thn when the fail, we spend $20k/child on special programs and then when they fail that and can't get a job, get pregnant, etc we pay for their housing, HC, Food stamps, etc.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

shhhh - you are not to question "special needs". That means anything goes.

Although in all fairness - if voucher schools are playing a game with enrollment and the third Friday. That should be fixed. No reason the voucher can't be cut in half at the least to make sure the kid is there each semester.

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

The public schools are the ones playing the game with the 3rd Friday enrollment check. Ask anyone that works in a school about the hoops they jump through to make sure the enrollment count is a high as possible.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

I expect everyone to game the system as much as possible - but the public schools can't turn around and tell someone to leave.

everclear
everclear

@Good dog, "Republicans and Christians are the most forgiving, gracious, giving and compassionate folks", Really, its nice you can forget about the hundreds of children that get raped when attending "Christian schools" Then the church puts the money in a fund so the victims don't get it. Then they transfer the priest or pay him off , Presto everything is wonderful,

array1
array1

I wonder how the conservatives here feel about their taxes going towards vouchers for Muslim faith based education.

I think it is wonderful. If the parents want to choose that how great for them to be able to have teh freedom to make that choice.

LiLa
LiLa

Parents have always had the freedom to send their kids to religious schools. It's just that now, the taxpayers "get" to pay their tuition.

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

The taxpayers/ parents are paying for public education. There is a difference between a Choice School and a Religious School. Not all Choice Schools are religion based. Stop repeating the myth !

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

I , as a conservative, have NO problem with that. That is rather racist of you array!

I do not support School Choice because SOME of the schools are faith based. I support it because it gives taxpayers a CHOICE in the way they want their children educated.

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

The vouchers for profit and religious schools is and always was about ending public schools. Koch Industries Schools will operate the same as Koch Industries, the bottom line is profit. Education will be an assembly line, if your kid is defective he/she will be gone, they slow down production and raise costs. Subject matter will be made up by corporate executives, temp workers with 90 day contracts (renewal optional) will be the teachers, no insurance, no vacation.

For those of you that think this is winning, wait until you see the jobs waiting for you after you graduate. You'll get the same great opportunities as the temp teachers, welcome to Pottersville, America.


Norwood44
Norwood44

Your talking point is total fantasy designed to stifle fair discussion of educational reform for public schools. The sky will not fall. Citizens will reject the Koch brothers cash powered efforts just as they rejected the union wealth and political power. Trust in the people.

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

44, you live in denial or you are part of the problem.

Look at the front page in todays' WSJ, the new norm is temp workers at less the $10/hr. Without Unions people have zero power. Or turn to the today's sports section and read about our new Packer rookie, his mother worked three jobs so they could survive.

I don't care how good or smart you think you are, they no longer have to pay you and you can and will be replaced.

Republican voters this is what you're winning, A First Class Ticket To Poverty.

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

Spooky-The new normal thanks to Obamacare is working 2 jobs of 25 hours each to side step the now delayed but still coming employer mandates. You are also WAY off topic, again.

Norwood44
Norwood44

spooky. you're right. let's all give up. it's all over but the shouting. head to your basements, the koch brothers are coming for you. all is lost. forget your homes and your cars and your frozen pizza. it's all over. because spooky knows. america is dead. capitalism is dead. democracy is dead. good bye cruel world. welcome to spooky's world.

Thanks to Obamacare temp workers will be the rule. Watch the next 15 months as companies start reducing worker's to 29 hrs/week to avoid providing benenfits.
Then we will have No dedication, no longevity, constant turnover, constant training and short timers who don't know anything and don't care in all companies.

What a horrible example for this story. The girl had behavioral issues and was kicked out. If she had been in a public school and was expelled that same public school would have had to pay for her to attend an alternative school too.

fear-mongering at it's best.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

they get half the money of public schools...and you think profit is their motive? uh...yeah right.

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

PL, if you get any more bent to the right you're going to have to look left to see the middleofthemostextreme. You turkey's can funnel all the money to the top 1%, hopefully the rest of your skin head friends will see how stupid they've been.

mzd
mzd

I'm looking forward to the day a future governor line item vetoes the voucher line in the budget.

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

The DPI only counts students enrolled in IEP (Individualized Education Program) as special needs students for these stats. If they are not in an IEP, they could not identify the student as having a special need. As result the majority of special needs students in Choice Schools, including students at St. Coletta Day School of Milwaukee and Lutheran Special School and Education Services, two schools that ONLY serve students with special needs, were not included in this data.

Also, when a student leaves a Choice School for whatever reason the FUNDING STOPS! To state otherwise is just perpetuating a lie.

gobi
gobi

2 schools - that's it ?? EVERY public school is required to take special needs kids. You just disproved your entire argument

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

Wrong. My argument is that the data is skewed to try and reflect a false sense that Choice Schools do not proportionately accept special needs students compared to Public Schools. I did not state that there were only 2 schools that accept specials needs students .

Many Choice Schools enroll kids with special needs, even some with severe disabilities (Down’s Syndrome, autism, emotional disturbance). Few of the schools formally classify any students as in special education (some principals stated that parents of students with disabilities switch their children to private schools from MPS specifically to escape the special education label).
Most Choice Schools serve students with disabilities the same way they serve economically/educationally disadvantaged students (challenging educational program, extra time, individualized attention, Title I tutors, etc.).

The voucher amount of $6,442 was cited as the main reason students with severe disabilities do not enroll and could not be served effectively if they did.

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

traderjoe,

Accepting or declining admittance will be the option the for profit/religious schools will always have. Once public schools have been destroyed there will be little to no options for kids that are too expensive to teach. To perpetrate otherwise is a lie. To pretend this is not about ending public schools is a lie.

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

Your Tin Foil hat is askew Spooky!

Sky is falling. Fear-monogering.

athabasca
athabasca

Traderjoe - you're the one perpetuating false information here. Voucher schools are paid for an entire semester at a time. If the student leaves or gets nudged out or kicked out after 3-weeks-in, the voucher school gets to keep that semester's worth of money anyway, and the public school has to educate the student

At the more extensive version of this story, http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2013/07/07/in-some-choice-schools-disabilities-are-liability/ , the mechanism is made very explicit.

"Choice schools receive half of the $6,442 voucher amount for any students who make it past the third Friday of September, when enrollment is tallied, whether or not they complete the year, according to the DPI’s Gasper. Choice schools get the second half for any students who are there on the second Friday in January, when there is a second enrollment count."

You're wrong about how voucher students with disabilities are counted, too, by the way. It has to do with state testing and whether the voucher schools are willing to send the demographic & disability information in along with the completed tests. Voucher schools are trying to have it both ways -- they want to claim they're serving more students with disabilities than the numbers show, but they don't want to have to follow any reporting requirements. The US Department of Justice has demanded better statistics... I wonder whether DPI is going to have any success getting the voucher schools to comply.

Mad4Madison
Mad4Madison

But let's be sure to compare all funding data...

School funding is universally determined on the Third Friday in September. So with that in mind:

What is the difference between the Voucher School's funding for the semester and the Public School receiving the funds from DPI for the kid that leaves the school and goes back to Chicago or drops out? I am only looking at this from a funding perspective and not making any statement that a child dropping out is good in any way. Funding is, dare I say, what it is. As long as it is applied universally, then it is simply the way the system works. And it is not just limited to Voucher Schools.

exactly and thank you for reasonable and fair debate

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

Nope, I am not wrong. The vouchers are paid in four installments, however, the state in its infinite wisdom has determined it only necessary to do a seat count in schools twice a year. That is why half of a student's voucher is paid out. The funding stops after that if the student is not counted in the second count in January. That is the fault of the state and holds true for public school students as well. If they leave public school after the first count, the PUBLIC school is also paid half.

I am also not wrong about my statement on how the DPI counts special needs students. It's a fact. You can choose not to accept it as fact, but it does not diminish it as a FACT!!! Using Wisconsin Watch as a reference is a joke!

athabasca
athabasca

Ah, so you concede my point -- the funding doesn't stop until the end of the semester.

That's not what you said before, you said that the funding stops when the child leaves. But whatever...

The fact remains that voucher schools are waiting till the third-Friday count, and then dumping the kids they'd rather not teach back into the public schools, but getting to keep the money for a whole semester.

Public schools have no such dumping option, thank goodness. Public schools are for everyone -- that's the investment we make with our public funds. How is it that we've been duped into shoveling tax money into private voucher schools and yet they get out of the requirements that we demand of the public schools: in terms of who they accept, what services they provide, teacher certification, accountability and transparency?

I'd also point out that I actually used a source, which is something you haven't yet chosen to do. Shouting louder does not add credibility to your assertions.

Robert James
Robert James

President Grant, speaking in Des Moines in 1876, knew the importance of a system of public education:

"Encourage free schools and resolve that not one dollar of the money appropriated to their support shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school; that neither the state or nation, not both combined, shall support institutions of learning other than those sufficient to afford to every child in the land the opportunity of a good common-school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or atheistical dogma.

"Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and private schools entirely supported by private contributions."

he also drank quite a lot.

ChooChoo
ChooChoo

The vouchers follow the students out of public schools but they don't follow them back.

Meanwhile taxpayers aren't even allowed information on the voucher schools they are funding.

dmich
dmich

"Often students leave choice schools after the annual fall headcount on the third Friday in September, which determines how much funding the voucher schools get in the first semester, public school officials say."

One way to combat this would be to have the funds follow the student. If the student is in the voucher school for one month, then transfers to a public school for the remainder of the school year, the voucher school should only receive 1/9 of the voucher amount to correspond to the time they actually educated the student.

michaelmcda
michaelmcda

It would appear we have publicly discussed these issues in our past. Everyone may get a kick out of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlbhIqmM_oE

(note to madison.com: you should really allow us to embed video on these blogs)

Master William
Master William

I went to a parochial school. It was small like 150 students. Most of the children who went to school there were children of immigrants - Irish, Italian, Armenian, Turkish. The parents worked very hard, spoke limited english and often worked two or three jobs so that the kids could go to school. In class, we had special ed kids - kids who were slower to learn and some who required special tutoring and some who required special assistance just to get from classroom to classroom. The children were not labeled and were expected to participate in school to the best of their abilities. The more advanced students tutored the slower learners. Parents were involved and in the classroom. Kids who did not meet expectations were held back a year until they could progress forward. Kids with ADD were not always medicated. Autistic kids went to school with their siblings and their siblings watched out for them. We spend so much time serving the needs of just a few so that the needs of the many are no longer served. Kids are labeled with "disabilities" because the label is just so convenient. I don't blame private schools for not wanting to deal with children whose parents don't even want to deal with them. Do not public schools get more money for these kids?

uwbadger91
uwbadger91

Master William writes, " I don't blame private schools for not wanting to deal with children whose parents don't even want to deal with them." I appreciate your sentiment, but you're missing the equity problem. Public schools are being judged on the basis of outcomes from ALL students. Voucher schools are being judged based on a select number of "cherry-picked" students who aren't severe needs, aren't habitually truant, aren't habitually disruptive, aren't homeless, and aren't psychologically challenged. This gives voucher schools an undue advantage over public schools. Fair is fair. Either require voucher schools to adhere to the same rules and laws public schools must, or let public schools play by the voucher school's rules.

NotACynic
NotACynic

So what is your answer, then? Cut 'em loose, send your kid to private school and where's the voucher check? Remake the system into a series of schools with 150 total enrollment and involved parents?

geo_
geo_

Republicans and christians refuse to give a darn about the post born. Vouchers are another ploy to shift tax dollars upward, more wealth re-distribution by the conservatives.

toobad
toobad

Dems don't care about childrens' education. All they care about is the union money that gets laundered into their election campaigns.

uwbadger91
uwbadger91

You know, toobad, that kind of broad generalization with no basis in fact simply doesn't add to the discussion. It would be like saying all Republicans don't care about the environment as long as they can get dividend checks from businesses that exploit our natural resources. This discussion would be better served by not stereotyping people you don't necessarily agree with.

GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN
GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN

@uwbadger91,

It's too bad you didn't recognize toobad's obvious (albeit, somewhat cynical) play off of @geo's wrong-headed assumption , "Republicans and Christians refuse to give a darn about the post-born." Total nonsense.

Republicans and Christians are the most forgiving, gracious, giving and compassionate folks in your community. Don't give in to Lefty hate, mano.

Perhaps you think two wrongs don't make a right, but, maybe three, do?

The discussion could be elevated by addressing the issue more honestly.

Posters perpetuating lies and stereotypes about school choice, as indicated by the "non-partisan" Center for Investigative Journalsim's hit piece doesn't raise the bar for journalistic integrity, either, dawg.

This piece, the WSJ editors titled, 'Voucher Schools Don't always take special needs kids" is more an editorial. By law, voucher schools must admit children with special needs.

If schools can escape the unionized hammerlock, WEAC and the bureaucratic educrats have on schools, it will better serve our community, the parents and the students themselves. When high expectations and standards are demanded, innovation and a better learning environment will follow.

Good politics follow good policy. Expanding voucher schools is the right policy choice. And it is good politics.

Making your child running a gang-gauntlet just in order to get to his class, teacher mediocrity and preserving the status quo is no longer good enough.

Feed your head.

Good Dog, Happy Man.

Norwood44
Norwood44

It is true that most private schools don't have the resources to handle special needs students. One of the reasons is financial. Some of these students cost districts up to 30K each per year. But the special needs issue doesn't change the fact that public schools are failing too many students. The model has to change. We need to move away from one size fits all. We need to create better environments for students AND teachers so they can excel. Especially with new technology that will allow for distance learning and other practices. Practices that can help special needs students too. We also need smarter programs for students who are not college track. Better trade training etc. It is a good discussion to have, but we won't improve our schools with union political cash, message points and fat contracts sans accountability. That discussion is old and unproductive. Clearly citizens want some form of education reform. We have to start somewhere. I would be interested to hear New Democrats offer a plan that is less divisive that Walker's but free from union cash and control.

michaelmcda
michaelmcda

Norwood,

Not sure if she would identify as a "New Democrat,"but, she was once the Assistant Secretary of Education in the G.W. Bush administration and now disavows No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, Diane Ravitch says

"After a decade of No Child Left Behind and three years of Race to the Top, officials are getting much better at identifying 'failing schools.'

Now we know.

A failing school is one with low test scores and low graduation rates.

A failing school enrolls large numbers of students who are eligible for free or reduced price lunch (i.e., poverty).

A failing school enrolls large numbers of African American and Hispanic students.

A failing school enrolls large numbers of students who are English language learners and new immigrants.

A failing school has disproportionate numbers of students with disabilities.

Based on current federal policy, these are the ways to “turnaround” these failing schools.

Fire the principal; fire half or all of the teachers; turn the school into a charter school under private management; close the school.

What, specifically, is done to address the educational needs of the students? See previous sentence."

To reform our public educational system, we must first start with a reformation of the metrics by which we determine success while simultaneously addressing the issue of astronomical income inequality developing from the logic of our "free" market based society. Do you really think given the sad state of affairs of the ideologically-embedded nature of our two party system that electoral politics should serve as a starting point of inquiry or action?

Norwood44
Norwood44

No where did I mention No Child Left Behind or its policies. Your assumption that I support the educational policies of the Bush administration is false. Why is it that anyone who wants educational reform for our public schools is immediately painted as a Republican or Koch brother? Total bs.

michaelmcda
michaelmcda

Norwood,

Why so defensive? I did not mention you supported NCLB or RTT. Furthermore, I see nothing in my reply to your statement calling for a "New Left" a plan to reform of public education that links you to either the oligarchical Kochs or the GOP. What I did imply with my inclusion of the Ravitch quote was that a key individual, sn individual with far more experience and expertise in educational policy than I know of myself and I assume of you, disowns the premises and actions of the educational reform movement as we understand it today. So, while I welcome the call for a meaningful discussion on school reform, I think we must begin such a discussion as far removed as possible from the the petty electoral politics that you attempt to distance yourself from while you simultaneously knowingly invoke them with labels such as "New Democrats" and statments like "union political cash and message points and fat contracts san accountability." The reform movement today seeks merely to gut the public system in order to gain access to the profitability of public tax dollars according to Ravitch. Do you agree with her? Do you really think the educational reform lobbyist are donating money to politicians out of the kindness of their hearts?

Since you refused to respond to my broad statement about educational reform through your deflection to "republican, Koch brother...bs, I will ask again. Are you really repaired to fix education? Then lets first begin by asking a simple question, why do you think there is little to no buy-in to our educational systems from the citizenry who occupy the lower rungs of our socio-economic strata?

Norwood44
Norwood44

Re: public education and the poor...great question. Somewhere along the way the generationally poor have lost their belief in education as a way up and out of poverty. Educators have to own this, as do parents. I do think union contracts have contributed to the problem but are no means the sole reason for the decline in quality and impact of public education. Also think Republicans are consciously trying to drive a wedge between traditional black, poor voters and Dems. They are making Dems own public education. No question. As for solutions? Greater investment in public education, but change the model. Higher pay for teachers, but greater accountability and better talent pool. Invest in digital infrastructure. Parental outreach. Take 50 billion right out of defense and invest in public education to prepare students for either college track or trade employment in a new digital, green economy. Link passion to education to employment. And institute campaign finance reform so both union and Koch money is taken out of the discussion.

Norwood44
Norwood44

mcda. I view koch money and union money as the same. both seek to influence school policy with cash. So the first action to better our public schools would be campaign finance reform. How's that for a start?

michaelmcda
michaelmcda

Excellent start. I see no harm in most of the suggestions you make below regarding basic educational reforms, and unfortunately, I see no suggestion from any of the school reformers active today approaching anything close to what you suggest. The reform movement and/or federal education policy rely solely on the ability of students to beat a standardized test as a metric of success and when such assessments reveal a student's inability, they simply, according to Ravitch, fire everyone, convert to a Charter/voucher school, suck off the profit, assess again, fail again, close the school and move on to the next failing school. If we consider education to be a pursuit of truth, or learning how to critically engage the world around us and serving in the interest of humanity, and I do, then standardized tests serve as a poor assessment of whether or not education occurs. In fact in the standardized tests as metric scenario, the reform model and its enacted policy as we know it today only serve the interest of profiteers and those who wish to socially engineer or religiously indoctrinate others.

Now, you made the statement below: "Link passion to education to employment." I disagree that education should ever be linked to employment. Given the deplorable living conditions that the logic of capitalism has wreaked upon the poor both here in our culture and across the globe, I find it frightening that we should ever expect such logic to serve as a lynchpin of our educational systems. Few of the meaningfully human cultures throughout our 5,000 or so years of recorded history ever saw the need to link education to capital and for good reason, the two have absolutely no relationship to each other. And, the ecological and social destruction of 200 years of the industrial revolution and global mercantilism only prove the point further. The goal of education should never be monetary profit from the perspective of the student or the teacher. To invite the goal of profit into the classroom only further extends the destruction of our world in the pursuit of profit.

Why should we ever expect the forces of capital to stop enacting havoc on the world ? Simply because we teach people the necessary skills in order to be exploited by its forces? In fact, one could reasonably argue that one of the causes as to why those living in poverty refuse to engage in an educational system is exactly for that reason. The poor completely realize, according to Hegel's Master/Slave dialectic, exactly who they are in the system. In fact, they understand and know themselves better than the Masters of capital and so they refuse to be exploited any further.

Now, if we could throw off the yolk of capitalism and ethically engage our world and its finite amount of resources by putting our educational systems to work in order to ecologically save our planet and its citizens, then I think we have made a legitimate use of education.

Norwood44
Norwood44

mcda. my comments about linking education to passion to employment needs clarification. Of course education and learning is good for its own sake, but students need to realize that education can lead to a marketable skill and lifestyle that can be better than generational poverty and living on the fringes of the underground economy. They must understand that education is a good investment of their time, effort and, in college, money. As for throwing off the yoke of capitalism, (not yolk) I will leave that to you. I think capitalism, free markets and democracy have proven to be the enduring models of the last century. Whether we like it or not capitalism is the most powerful economic expresssion of freedom, and freedom the most fundamental of human desires. Surely there are abuses, but a look at what socialism or fascism has wrought makes capitalism preferable to me. But good luck throwing off the yoke. Or yolk if you were referring to the egg on your shirt.

michaelmcda
michaelmcda

Yolk to Yoke, gotta love auto-correct on a cell phone. But, back to the matter at hand. We needn't dig too deeply into communism/fascism vs. capitalist democracies, as I am not so sure it will lead us anywhere near where we wish to go here. Although, democracies may and have existed without mercantile capitalism; I am from a tribal nation with ancestors who may attest to such an existence, so it is not out of the realm of possibility for human existence.

But, I think you fail to see my point, it is precisely the fact that capitalism does not, or, at best, begrudgingly rewards the educated so poorly to the point that those presently existing as the products of poverty, a poverty that is a direct result of the logic of capital, enact civil disobedient behaviors by refusing to engage the educational system and the economic system on its terms and choose to exist in a subaltern economy. The poor of present and succeeding generations may simply have begun to refuse to be exploited any further at a rate of $10 to $15/hr with no benefits or security. Our poorly performing schools are but a symptom of our poorly performing culture/economy as our culture, with all of its freedoms, appears incapable of inducing the succeeding generations to take part within it and no lack of proper parenting or poorly performing educators are to blame for a socio-economic system that sees no value in maintaining a thriving middle class.

Norwood44
Norwood44

mcda. first, you shouldn't confuse educated with smart. or ambitious. Or hard working. All traits rewarded by a competitive economy. As for the rest of your case, I do think our culture has become unbalanced towards the rich. It should be corrected. But I think America has proven to be a remarkable incubator for opportunity in the past, free from entitled class models of old Europe and other locales. It would be good for us to get back to that, but we need middle class jobs to do so. Not everyone can be a professor. Green, new energy and digital manufacturing should be our goal. Also a huge public transit and infrastructure initiative to create middle class jobs as well.

michaelmcda
michaelmcda

Norwood(below):

You say "All traits rewarded by a competitive economy." I think we should really alter that statement to "[a]ll traits which May be rewarded by...." Anyway, I need to run but wanted to say it has been fun posting with you here. And, while I hope things will tilt back to more sustainable levels of economic prosperity for a greater majority of our citizens, I do not hold my breath. A critical engagement with the history of empires indicates that we most likely will continue on the self-destructive path on which we presently find ourselves. I read something etched into the seat of Portland Max train once that read, "Each time History repeats itself, the price goes up." I look on with interest and dread as we may soon discover the price we will pay when a globally-connected empire/economic system may no longer be able to peaceably maintain itself.

NotACynic
NotACynic

Also, Norwood, do you not see that a voucher system is a move TOWARD a one size fits all approach? They (the private school) couldn't teach the kid in this story because she doesn't fit the mold. Cut her loose!

snow
snow

Norwood, it is also much easier to teach to groups of children who are in the same academic range (which is also usually those who are above average). This is why private schools don't take on special education students and those who don't "fit there model". If you had ever entered the public schools you would know the breadth of levels of students in the private schools vs public schools. You need to stop your union bashing every time you get a chance.
Also if you had any knowledge of education, you would know that one way to educate students doesn't work for all students no matter what the "practice" is.
Can't forget that students lose all their rights when they enter a private school. What is your excuse to that?

Norwood44
Norwood44

Snow. You oppose educational reform. You like the politically powerful and wealthy union model. You use the old union talking points to stifle discussion that threatens the old model. We get it. But people of all political stripes think that public schools are important and have to improve. That requires new thinking and models. Your method is to simply insult people who are looking for a better way for students of all kinds. We will have to improve public schools despite what you think.

No one " loses their rights" no matter what school they attend.

BananaSplitz
BananaSplitz

I'd like to see a list of all schools receiving vouchers.

toby
toby

toobad You missed the point. They WILL be staffed by under qualified & less dedicated & motivated Teachers in the near FUTURE. As my wife has reminded me many times "you get what you pay for" glad to see your a success story of Walker's divide & conquer.

toobad
toobad

toby, You missed reality. We saw how motivated and dedicated they were during the walkout.

snow
snow

toobad, you are correct, we did see teachers show that they were motivated and dedicated to the students of today and tomorrow. When Walker allows for less qualified people to teach your children, they will feel that they are only getting paid to work 7-3. They will not call or visit families after school, set up lesson plans for the future, take money from their own paychecks to supply games, activities, snacks, posters, pencils, notebooks, free reading books, grade papers after school, etc. The teachers who protested where not looking at how this will affect what was happening to the children the days they "called in sick" they where looking out for the children that were in school this past year, this coming year, and for the years in the future.

Norwood44
Norwood44

In 2010, when less than half of Madison's young black men graduated from high school, not one of the 2700 teachers in the Madison district were dismissed for any reason. So much for quality control. So much for high standards. Are there good teachers? Yes. But guess what, being good isn't extra credit. It is the expectation. You are supposed to be good. That is what you are being paid to be. Teachers grade kids every day. But woe unto those who would dare grade teachers, or suggest that the system could be made better. How dare anyone suggest that teachers could improve? Imagine if a teacher told a student they should improve? Oh. Wait. They do. And if they don't, they get flunked. Do as I say, not as I do?

Norwood44
Norwood44

fear mongering.

gobi
gobi

It's sad. The wealthy can already afford to attend a private school. Now they get a tax break on top of that AND the private schools don't have to accept special needs kids. Union or not, it costs more to educate these kids. The average student without special needs are not as expensive. What's a lie is that Walker touts the voucher schools as a way out for poor students when , in fact, they are not allowed in. Our Divide and Conquer Governor (his own words) is following his marching orders perfectly.

The vouchers are ONLY for people who are under 185% of the federal poverty level.
.

toobad
toobad

So this is the pathetic journalism that Wisc taxpayers are now subsidizing. The government schools will take the special needs students and babysit them for 12 years.

bookman21
bookman21

How are the taxpayers subsidizing journalism? You are just complaining because they are telling you things you don't want to hear.

toobad
toobad

@bookman21, It's WCIJ. Sorry I assumed you were literate in current events.

bookman21
bookman21

@toobad
I assumed that you could read. This story has nothing to do with WCIJ.

Phil
Phil

If you want to know what the goal of Walker's policies look at Mississippi.

For education the goal is to provide taxpayer supported vouchers for wealthy and middle class students to attend private religious schools. The only other alternative, for poor and handicapped students, is underfunded public schools overseen by underpaid and unqualified staff.

If this is the direction Wisconsin wants to go then that is fine. But Republicans should be honest in their final desired outcome in order to give everyone the choice between two competing visions of the future of education in WI.

toobad
toobad

You hit the nail on the head phil. The government union monopoly schools, in your own words, are staffed with unqualified people. A bit harsh but probably honest.

BananaSplitz
BananaSplitz

Uh...looks like the private school in this story was staffed with unqualified people. That's why the girl went back to the public school.

She didn't go back. They kicker her out.

Phil
Phil

I am glad that you agree with my assertion that the Republicans want to turn the public school system into a dumping ground for poor, disabled students by denigrating the work of highly educated professionals. The undisputed fact is that states that have a highly unionized workforce have a much better outcome than the states that don't by every measure proves that conservatives hate their America and want it to fail.

Comment deleted.
toobad
toobad

LOL, keyboards make you feel like a man, gorman?

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