State Paid $139 Million to Terminated Voucher Schools Since 2004

By John Forester | October 13, 2014

​I found this article by Molly Beck of the Wisconsin State Journal to be an interesting look at the millions of dollars the state wasted on voucher schools that have since been terminated from the program.

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Grassroots Anti-Voucher Group to Work in Northern Wisconsin

By John Forester | October 7, 2014

A grassroots coalition, “NoVouchers, has announced its volunteer members will be working in rural communities in Northern Wisconsin to stop the expansion of taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools .

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AP, SAT Results Strong

By John Forester | October 7, 2014

​​The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced today that preliminary data from the Advanced Placement (AP) program showed an increase in the number of state students participating in the program and solid overall results. The AP information comes with state and national SAT scores, where Wisconsin’s 2014 graduates posted strong results, outpacing students in the national cohort by more than 90 points on the college admissions exams.

For more information see DPI News Release here.

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Poll Shows Movement Toward Walker

By John Forester | October 2, 2014

From WisPolitics.com …

Gov. Scott Walker opened up a 5-point lead among likely voters on Dem rival Mary Burke in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll, the first time since March the advantage for either candidate has been outside the margin of error.

Fifty percent of likely voters backed Walker, while 45 percent supported Burke. In the Marquette Law poll two weeks ago, Walker had a 49-46 edge among likely voters.

It was the first time this year Walker has hit the 50 percent mark with likely voters.

Poll director Charles Franklin said with the race now a little more than a month away, he’s starting to focus more on likely voters.

He also called Walker’s lead on Burke among men “astonishing.” For likely voters, Walker led among men 62-34, while Burke led among women 54-40.

See Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Coverage here.

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Pro-Voucher Study Contends Vouchers Benefit Public Schools

By John Forester | October 1, 2014

Milwaukee’s long-running school voucher program that allows certain children to attend private and religious schools at taxpayer expense has saved Wisconsin more than $238 million since its inception in 1990, according to a new study by a national voucher advocacy group.

That’s not a surprisingfinding — vouchers are generally lower in cost than public school education.

But the study’s more provocative point is that the savings from those voucher programs in Milwaukee and other cities are passively plowed back into public schools or other public programs.

Critics pounced on the reasoning.

Read more of this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

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Number of Homeless Students Rising

By John Forester | September 29, 2014

The Fond du Lac Reporter reports that a record number of homeless students are attending school in Fond du Lac and around the state.  The article cites data from U. S. Department of Education and the Department of Public Instruction.

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More Districts Move to Provide Mental Health Services

By John Forester | September 29, 2014

This Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article looks at several ways Wisconsin school districts are attempting to address growing student mental health needs.  The article does look at the funding impediment.  However, it does not look closely at the magnitude of the problem facing Wisconsin students, families and schools.

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We Must Close the Achievement Gap

By John Forester | September 29, 2014

State Superintendent Tony Evers and Mequon-Thiensville District Administrator Demond Means issued a joint editorial on closing the achievement gap, calling it “the most important issue facing education in our state.”

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Outgoing Rep. Kestell Reflects on Legislative Career

By John Forester | September 29, 2014

Representative Steve Kestell reflects on private school vouchers, school accountability, the Common Core and more in this reflective Sheboygan Press news article.  Definitely worth the read.

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Kestell Named SAA Legislator of the Year

By John Forester | September 25, 2014

Representative Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, was presented with the SAA 2014 Legislator of the Year Award today in Madison at the Fall Superintendents Conference of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA).

Shortly after Steve announced that he would not seek election to a 9th term in the Assembly, I wrote a few words on my blog to try and convey the respect that we hold for Chairman Kestell – respect for his advocacy for children, and for the way he conducted himself as an elected representative of the people.  I’d like to share those words again:

The SAA has worked with Chairman Kestell for many years.  And, while we didn’t always agree on education policy issues, we did understand and appreciate that he painstakingly weighed the evidence and made his decisions based on what he thought was the right thing to do for the children and the taxpayers of Wisconsin. That type of reasoned, deliberate approach will be sorely missed in the Assembly.   Steve Kestell is a great friend of public education.                                                                                  

We will miss him.

Enough said.

See SAA News Release.

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