Governor Scott Walker trying to slip ALEC education legislation into budget.

                    Governor Scott Walker is attempting to radically overhaul Wisconsin’s education system using several pieces of ALEC’s model legislation. He is attempting to do it through the budget process, meaning this privatization agenda could be enacted with minimal input from the public. These budget provisions will tax the taxpayers for private and religious school.

On the campaign trail in 2010, Walker pledged to strip policy and pork projects from the state budget. At least 46 non-budgetary items have been slipped into the 2013-2015 budget proposal. Included in these 46 are ALEC connected proposals limiting school board oversight for charter schools, expanding voucher programs and creating New teaching licenses for individuals with no educational background. The expanded voucher programs are the fiscal problem.

Well funded advocates of privatizing the nations public education system have been promoting the Parent Trigger. Parent Trigger Laws are a mechanism that allows parents to transform underperforming public schools. The Parent Trigger was first promoted by a small charter school operator in California. It was taken up and launched inti hyper-drive by 2 controversial right wing organizations, ALEC and the Heartland Institute.

ALEC brings together major American corporations and Republican lawmakers to craft and vote on model bills behind closed doors. Some of these bills are Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, union busting legislation, Arizona style anti-immigration legislation and voter suppression laws. ALEC’s agenda has become so extreme over 40 corporations have severed ties with them. The Heartland Institute lost a lot of corporate sponsors after it launched a billboard comparing those who believe in Climate Change to the Unabomber.

In 1990 Milwaukee was thev first city in the country to implement a school voucher program. It was proposed by then Governor Tommy Thompson (ALEC member) and it was quickly embraced by ALEC. It was originally promoted as a program for Milwaukee’s low income students. But Walker expanded it to families of higher incomes and his 2013-2015 budget proposal threatens to expand it further. By 2014-2015 Wisconsin taxpayers will have spentvan estimated $1.8 billion on private and religious schools. School privatization interests have spent at least $10 million on political funding. Scott Walker alone recieved $2.35 million in contributions and outside support from pro-privatization groups. Critics have said that Republicans have hijacked the program. As soon as a door opens for lower income kids, they are trampled by the wealthy.

Governor Bobby Jindal tried to use the budget process to subsidize private and religious schools. But the measure was deemed unconstitutional by the Louisiana State Supreme Court. If only because the Constitution states that education money can only go towards public education. Hopefully Wisconsin has that sort of clause in it, maybe it can slow the Privatization of public schools.

The Republican party strongly supports privatizing public education. But then again they sneakily try to privatize anything they can. They have attempted to privatize the USPS and prisons just for example. Democrats and President Obama are trying to fix and streamline public education. They want to getvrid of No Child Left Behind, a horrible program that does nothing for our kids. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for private and religious schools. Paying for religious schools violates the 1st Amendment but creatingva state religion. But of course the Constitution only applies when it works for Republicans.

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Education reform.

                Education reform should be one of the top issues being discussed by our lawmakers. For a nation that spends $800 billion per year, 6 times higher than the next closest spender, we rank below Canada in almost every important category. Much of the blame for this goes to the socio-economic status of the districts.

                A kid grower up in a poor or urban area are less likely to succeed in school. The poor kid already starts with a disadvantage, his socio-economic status. Poor kids generally do not eat as well and many come from single parent households. A hungry or malnourished child is not going to learn as quickly because of being hungry, it also erodes a childs ability to pay attention. Kids from these social class or poorer districts have already been put behind the 8 ball.

            Standardized testing, while a good early to evaluate students progress shoud not determine the money a school gets. Poor districts are already providing below average education and test scores, is taking more money away going to improve the situation. The wealthier a district on average the higher the test scores and the more money they would receive. While poorer districts are cutting classes, be it Spanish, Music or Art, wealthier districts are getting more money to use for whatever needs.

              The solutions to this problem may not be easy and will most likely be harder to swallow. Privatizing schools is the Republican idea. It won’t work, look at other privatization models. Democrats like charter schools and putting more money into it, instead of making a smart investment. Here are a few ideas.

           Every school gets the sane amount per child, regardless of district or scores. Every teacher is evaluated and has to stand in front of a board to justify either failing children or success. This way we can find what works and what doesn’t. Public Charter School, they are like a public school, but there is not a teachers union and the curriculum differs. Bear Creek Community Charter School is a fantastic example, it is located in Bear Creek, Pa. We need to hold teachers, administrators, parents and children responsible to move forward.

             We can spend the same amount and get a better education
We can compete globally if we are willing to change our way of thinking. Some all important tweeks and we have a completely different and viable public education system.

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