I see where applications for Indiana’s private school vouchers have doubled, in the wake of the legislature’s action last session relaxing the criteria.
School Choice Indiana’s president was quoted as ecstatic, and noted that participation in the program has quadrupled since it was first introduced.
Happy days. Public schools not up to snuff? Don’t bother fixing them–privatize! (We all know that government can’t do anything right, and the private sector can’t do anything wrong.)
I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything that in Madison, Wisconsin, private schools that are currently participating in that state’s voucher program are vigorously resisting proposed new requirements that they make public their students’ achievement data.
Accountability is evidently only for public schools.
The sponsor of the Wisconsin measure, Senator Luther Olsen, is the Republican chair of the state legislature’s Education Committee. He wants the Legislature to be a “careful steward of taxpayer dollars.” As he put it, “No matter if you’re a public school, a charter school or a choice school, if you get a check, you should get a check up.”
That seems eminently reasonable. If tax dollars are going to private schools, the very least we should expect is information about the effectiveness of the programs those dollars are supporting. Furthermore, if parents are going to make informed choices about where to send their children to school, it seems only fair that they should have access to basic information about the performance of the schools they are considering.
According to news reports, however, Wisconsin’s non-public schools are adamantly opposed to making their results public, and the legislature is unlikely to pass the measure.
Interesting, isn’t it? The most vocal critics of public schools–the advocates and beneficiaries of voucher programs that bleed resources from the public system to support their own institutions, the people who insist upon testing and accountability for public schools–aren’t so enthusiastic about performance reviews when they are the ones being evaluated.
I guess sauce for the goose gets kind of bitter when it’s poured on the gander.