It’s good news Wisconsin lawmakers are focusing more on the results of the nation’s oldest voucher program. This week, the chairmen of the Senate and Assembly education committees released a plan that, among other things, would rate the performance of private schools enrolling voucher-bearing students and kick the worst schools out of the program.
But, even though this plan has been two years in the making, it needs more time to marinate. It gives state education chief Tony Evers too much control to develop a report card for schools, and Evers has never been shy about his contempt for school vouchers.
The bill, for instance, requires Evers and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to develop an accountability system that measures schools’ achievement in reading and math, records student growth in those subjects, and judges other matters like college and career readiness and “pupil engagement.” A report card ranges from “significantly exceeds expectations” to “fails to meet expectations,” and private schools that land in the latter category are kicked out of the voucher program.
Let’s be clear, it’s appropriate for the state to take action against private schools that show consistently poor results in core subjects with their voucher-bearing students. Wisconsin’s neighbor, Indiana, also has passed a voucher law that holds participating private schools to account for their performance and keeps them from enrolling new voucher students if their results are sub-par.
But keep in mind that Evers once called the twenty-two-year-old Milwaukee Parental Choice Program...