Opposition Growing to Expanding Private School Voucher Proposal

While the debate over school vouchers roars back to life in Texas, today, it's something other states have been grappling with for years.

In Wisconsin, where this year they spent 245-million on private school vouchers, Christina Brey with the Wisconsin Education Association Council says it's increasingly hurting the state's education system.

"Without strong accountability measures, we've seen schools in storefronts and in awful places, schools without playground and schools shut down in the middle of the night, where the students and parents show up the next day and have nowhere to turn to," she tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

When the school voucher debate began there, she says the state debated many of the same topics that Texas is currently wrapping their arms around.  One of the big selling points there, like it has been here, is that vouchers would help special needs students find the program that's best suited to their needs.  

She says, in reality, few of those families were able to get assistance, and the majority remains in public schools.

"So, while those costs don’t go away to educate some or most challenged, vulnerable children, the funding is no longer there from the state," she explains.

Another one of the selling points in Wisconsin was that it would help families escape failing schools, no matter where they lived.  Brey says 80-percent of those receiving tax-payer funded vouchers there never attended public school in the first place.

Brey says some of those who initially supported the voucher program there have now changed their tune and are now critics, once they saw what it did to public schools.

"We've seen schools cut music and art because state aid dried up."

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