(Guest post by Greg Forster)
This morning the Wall Street Journal and National Review Online both take on the covert effort to destroy Milwaukee vouchers by political subterfuge.
From the Journal:
Because the 20-year-old program polls above 60% with voters, and even higher among minorities, killing it outright would be unpopular. Instead, Democratic Governor Jim Doyle wants to reduce funding and pass “reforms” designed to regulate the program to death. The goal is to discourage private schools from enrolling voucher students and thus force kids to return to unionized public schools.
Last week, the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved a series of auditing, accrediting, and instructional requirements that will force successful voucher schools to shift resources away from classrooms and into administration. Several schools will have to comply with new bilingual-education mandates, even though many immigrant parents choose those schools precisely because they emphasize the rapid acquisition of English instead of native-language maintenance.
Both editorials also mention looming cuts in funding for vouchers, even though the program saves huge taxpayer dollars and the bloated government schools are getting increases in funding. Both editorials cite Robert Costrell’s calculation that the difference between private school efficiency and public school bloat has saved taxpayers $180 million – though only NRO mentions Costrell by name.
And NRO also gets a gold star for this:
Researchers say that the program is beginning to show systemic effects. In other words, it doesn’t merely help its participants. It also gives a lift to non-voucher students because the pressure of competition has forced public schools to improve.
C’mon, Wall Street Journal, get on the ball!