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Wisconsin SB 22

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One educator’s concerns about SB 22:

Senate Bill 22 Gives Private

Voucher Schools Top Priority

Over Public School  Funding

As details of Gov. Scott Walkers corporate takeover of state government are revealed piece by piece, one gets the sensation the whole state is coming down with a case of shingles. From trashing a half-century of successful public employee collective bargaining to ending recycling and kicking tens of thousands off BadgerCare, or the fracturing of the states university system, the dawning of every day brings a sickening sense that we are now in service to a state by, for and of the corporation.

On Thursday St. Pattys Day – hearings begin on Senate Bill 22 Creating a Charter School Authorization Board. It is on that day the governor and state republicans, including our own Sen. Dan Kapanke, take a bloodied shillelagh (Irish war club) to the entire Wisconsin public school system.

(A school system, by the way, that consistently ranks at the top in national student testing.)

I first heard of SB22 from Jamie Domini, a Madison charter school teacher, who warned about the impending bill from the steps of the state Capitol in Madison last Thursday.

This is a big deal, she warned. This is going to cut public education in addition to the $900 million cuts to education Walker is already proposing.

While full details of the bill have been elusive to come by the following are a few of the proposed details that have been talked about:

·        Creation of nine-member charter school board with all members appointed by (surprise) Gov. Walker.

·        Extend vouchers for private schools to the entire state.

·        Lift the top income limit on tax payer funded vouchers so the wealthy can get us to pay for the private education of their children at the expense of the public schools.

·        Lessen or possibly remove criteria for teacher certification in charter and privately-owned schools.

·        Permit charter and private schools to use less rigorous skills testing. One can assume this is to offset the generally lower test scores that come out of many private charter and religious schools.

·        Appears to open the door for private for-profit schools, which would be underwritten by tax payer reimbursed tuition vouchers.

·        Most egregious is a provision that would put voucher reimbursements to charter and private schools ahead of funding for public schools.

Clearly, this is about shattering Wisconsin s fine system of public education and handing it off to private investors. The proposal by Walker and  Sen. Kapanke to sell off state-owned power plants in no-bid sweetheart deals between the governor and whomever he chooses to favor with public property is one thing, but to now treat our children as commodities to be purchased for private profit is quite another.

Here are the names of those sponsoring the bill: Representatives: Bies; Ballweg; Kleefisch; Mursau; Nass; Marklein; Knodl; Honadel; Kestell; Pridemore; Van Roy; Vos.  Senators: Darling; Vukmir; Olsen; Lazich; Kapanke; Galloway.

Please forward this information to every Wisconsin friend on your address book. These sponsors need to hear that you know they are up to selling off public education in this state to the highest bidder and the lowest standards.

I have not been able to find out exactly where and when on Thursday this hearing is occuring. One of you teachers out there, please, check with your union and let us know.

A special Daily Call Action Alert will be sent out as soon as I can after receiving the information; then you need to forward it on. That damn hearing room needs to be loaded with concerned citizen parents and educators. I also need someone there who will send me a written report on what actually occurs in the hearing, especially anything Kapanke has to say in the hearing.

Here is some further information on the bill:

http://wi.opengovernment.org/sessions/2011-regular-session/bills/sb-22/  and http://elobbyist.com/gaits/WI/SB22

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Sometime

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Sometime I’ll post some really intelligent commentary here. Seriously. I will. Sometime.