(Guest post by Greg Forster)
I’m late getting this up, but check out yesterday’s battle royale on the op-ed page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In this corner, the title holder – the champion of choice, the vizier of vouchers, the BMC of ESAs – Robert Enlow!
And in this corner, the challenger – the canard kid, the defenestration of education, the unionbomber – O. Ricardo Pimentel!
The subject: Gov. Walker’s proposal to lift the income restriction on the Milwaukee voucher program from 175% of the poverty level to 325%, or $72,635 for a family of four. Walker has an eye toward eventually lifting both the income restriction and the cap on the number of participants - which would make Milwaukee a universal voucher program.
They’re getting mental in the Sentinel!
There’s the bell, and here comes the champ!
CHOICE PLAN PUTS KIDS FIRST
Looks like he’s confident. Now we’ll see what the challenger’s got.
YES, YOU WERE ALL DUPED BY CHOICE
Ouch! That snooty condescention is going to cost him. But he’s on fire and the hits start coming:
Now, $72,635 is not what it used to be, but it’s not low-income…
The champ fires back:
There are almost 210,000 households in Milwaukee, with more than 90% of them earning less then $100,000. That’s less than the average Milwaukee Public Schools teacher earns in annual compensation, according to the Journal Sentinel.The point isn’t to attack teachers but to show that what many consider “poverty” to qualify for a school voucher is not the same amount of income it actually takes to survive – and thrive – in America.
The challenger’s reeling under the punishment. But he comes back with another attack!
If schools need fixing, the community needs to pull together to do that. Walker’s budget cuts $834 million in school aids. MPS says it will have to cut $74 million from its preliminary budget.
This prompts a round of stunning brutality from the champ:
School choice saves taxpayers big bucks. The per-pupil cost to educate a child in Milwaukee is $13,229, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Yet the voucher program funded by the state is about half that at $6,442, which covers a good portion of tuition at many parochial and private schools.
The challenger’s down! No, wait, sorry, he’s just looking for his teeth.
Okay, now he’s back in the fight.
Bet on it: If families that aren’t precisely low-income “need” help here in Milwaukee, it is just a matter of time that he’ll reason they need help in other communities with challenged school districts or perhaps even those in higher-performing districts.
So, this begs the question: Were low-income students – mostly youngsters of color – just useful pawns for the right?
Wow, he must really be hurting to play the race card so flagrantly. Still, there’s something vaguely resembling an argument in there somewhere. Let’s see how the champ handles it.
With a ceiling on the number of students who can participate, the program’s impact has been limited although still positive. That’s why Walker’s plan to open the program to all students is welcome news, as unrestricted freedom will work even better to improve MPS and increase the academic achievement of children.
For example, if a large grocer has a monopoly in a neighborhood and a convenience store opens on the corner selling milk and bread, there isn’t enough competition to force the large grocer to offer better products. However, if three convenience stores and two other larger grocery stores open, customers suddenly will see an improvement in the products available. The same happens in education, as parents always win with multiple education choices. Such will be the case in Milwaukee when all parents have the choice of a private or public school.
How is the challenger still on his feet? An amazing sight, ladies and gentlemen!
I never would have thought Robert Enlow was capable of brutalizing another human being so totally. Why isn’t the ref putting a stop to this inhumanity?
It looks like the challenger can’t even see where he’s punching. He’s just flailing now.
Gov. Scott Walker is on the cusp of making the much desired entanglement of public dollars and private schools – many of them religious – an unassailable reality.
Yes, unassailable. See what happens if middle-class folks are given vouchers and some subsequent governor or Legislature tries to take them away. Won’t happen…
Choice made sense as a matter of equity for low-income children with no options in a district that demonstrably served them poorly…
Yes to choice – but for those who really have none. And if extended for families beyond that? We can consider ourselves duped.
Did I hear that right? Vouchers violate the separation of church and state – but only when rich white kids use them. When poor black kids use them, they’re fine. And remember, it’s voucher supporters who are using poor black kids as political props.
And, sure enough, the challenger’s self-contradictory idiocy has prompted the ref to step in. Clearly this is one fighter who’s taken a few too many hits.
Enlow is carried out of the ring by a cheering throng of supporters!
No, wait - that’s the mob of union protestors who were bussed in from Madison to watch the fight. I guess Robert is headed for an “undisclosed location.”
And now over to Jay and Matt for the post-match show.