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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« Milwaukee and Madison Inch Together - Tom Still Revisited | Main | Water, Water, Everywhere, and Manganese In Some Places, Too »

May 24, 2006


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Russ Burkel

The US Constitution does provide government monopolies with the exception of national defense. The school choice debate comes down to who makes the decision. School choice allows the parents to make the decision. Parents will almost always send their children to the best available school. If the public school is the best alternative it will gain students, if not, it will lose students. That's called competition, which is the basis of our way of life.
Now let's think about the taxpayer for a minute. MPS spends approx. $11,000 per student. Private schools receive approx. $6,000 vouchers. Milwaukee property taxpayers desperatly need the savings competitive education is currently, and will continue to provide.
Now let me ask, are you proposing parental choice in Milwaukee be taken away and given back to bureaucrats?


Mr. Mayor:

Perhaps you are suggesting we are all taxed insufficiently to fund public schools with low teacher/student ratios. Perhaps you are only suggesting that WEAC is insufficiently powerful and misunderstood. Or that parents, regardless of how awful their schools are and how poor they are, should pay twice to send their children to schools the parents prefer.

George Mitchell


Trying proposing that public school teachers be required to send their children only to public schools. In Milwaukee nearly at third of MPS teachers use private schools, compared to about 12 per cent nationally. When UW-Milwaukee surveyed MPS teachers in the late 1980s more than 60 per cent said they would not want their child to attend the school where they teach.

All Milwaukee's program does is give low-income families some of same choices that teachers and other middle class parents have.

There was a time when you would have been for this.

Jay Bullock

Mr. Mitchell, I've covered the public school teachers/ private school children issue before at my own blog, and your figures here--which you use quite often--are misleading.

While the national rate (using 2000 census sampling data) may be 12%, for the 50 largest cities, of which Milwaukee is one, the rate is about 22%, making Milwaukee's 29% not as much greater as you want us to believe. In addition, the number does not differentiate between MPS teachers and teachers in other districts who live in the Census Bureau's tracts for "Milwaukee," which is not limited to the city's boundaries, and that clouds the issue.

More importantly, the same study noted that only about a third of private school teachers themselves nationwide send their children to private schools--nearly an identical number to that of MPS. Seems like more private school teachers distrust the systems they teach in more than MPS teachers do theirs.

And that UWM survey is so laughably old . . . In my department at my school--the largest department save for special education--exactly one of our teachers was in the district in the late 1980s, out of 8 (in special ed it's probably only one of 16). According to MTEA (the Milwaukee teachers union), nearly two-thirds of MPS teachers have fifteen or fewer years in the district. A significant number of the schools in MPS today did not exist in the late 1980s, and many of the ones that did are now gone.

I'm not saying the results wouldn't be replicated today; but at least get a survey done today that shows that, or hang up that old one, please.

Read my full post from last January here:

Russ Burkel

Mr. Bullock
Where teachers send their children to school is their decision. Likewise, where all other Wisconsin parents send their children to school is their decision also, not governments.
Now getting back to costs. Government is collecting $11,000 per student for every child in the City of Milwaukee public schools, without caps.
On the other hand, government is collecting $6,000 per student for vouchers, but have chosen to cap it at 15% of total student population.
The bottom line is simple, public education has priced itself out of the market. That's not a surprise. It simply confirms known economic fact, competion works, monopolies don't.
Deregulating education is the answer just as was the answer when the government broke up AT&T in 1984.

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