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‘Choice’ sparks debate

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Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:00 pm

Parents deserve more choices, according to panelists who spoke out at an informational meeting on school choice Tuesday in Beloit.

Americans For Prosperity Foundation (AFP) held the event at the Rotary River Center as part of their Academy Series on School Choice.

“We are providing options if students are struggling,” said Kristi LaCroix, a Kenosha teacher with the American Association of Educators.

“We believe that competition drives innovation and results for all children,” Wisconsin State Director of AFP Luke Hilgemann said. “We need better results. We are falling behind other states and other countries.”

Tuesday’s panelists included LaCroix, Hilgemann, Tony Katz of All Patriots Media, AFP policy analyst Casey Given and President of School Choice Wisconsin Jim Bender.

The meeting followed Gov. Scott Walker’s speech on Jan. 30 at a School Choice event in Milwaukee, where he said parents deserve a broad range of choices. Currently the state offers voucher programs in Milwaukee and Racine. The program gives eligible parents a state-funded voucher of $6,442 per child to defray their children’s tuition at private schools, including religious schools. Walker did not propose any specific policy changes, but did say he believed parents throughout Wisconsin deserved alternatives to schools that do not meet standards.

During Tuesday’s meeting, AFP panelists tried to dispel what they consider to be myths circulating about school choice. Some of the myths, they said, are that school choice just takes money away from public schools and leaves the poor or under-performing students there.

LaCroix conceded it’s true money is taken from public schools in some instances, but she said that’s fine with her. She said it only is using the money of taxpayers in a different way.

“Whose money is it?” she asked. “Are publics schools a jobs program?”

LaCroix said it’s time to start an honest conversation about options for parents, even if it’s uncomfortable for some. She said schools afraid of competition should get it together or get out of the business of education. And she doesn’t accept excuses of kids not performing well because they are poor or come from bad homes.

Stressing that the best teachers won’t lose their jobs in the event of expanded school choice, LaCroix said education debates need to focus on what’s best for children as opposed to what’s best for adults.

LaCroix went on to say she makes $74,000 a year teaching in a Kenosha public school, and said she is doing fine. She said paying more money to teachers isn’t going to necessarily improve education.

“I’ll save you tons of money. Let me watch the best teachers in the state,” LaCroix said. “When school choice really opens up in Wisconsin, it’s not going to be to suburban schools, it’s going to be to successful schools who invested in their teachers.”

Bender said claims that high performers will leave public schools is false.

“If you are a student and you are doing well there is no reason to leave. That’s when parents are looking for answers,” Bender said.

Katz played a video presenting statistics, including a claim that “51 percent of Beloit schools were failing,” which prompted Beloit Superintendent Steve McNeal to interject that the claim was false.

Hilgemann said the statement comes from reading the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) report card. In October the report cards indicated that School District of Beloit has seven of its 14 schools meeting or exceeding expectations, and half of the schools in the district meeting fewer expectations.

Some attendees voiced concern over the images shown, and what they considered to be exaggerated claims.

Parent Rick McGrath noted the images shown weren’t from Beloit.

“Images can be very powerful. Those were very dour and provocative photos. You’re casting the wrong impression of my community,” McGrath said.

McGrath said Beloit just passed its $70 million referendum and hasn’t had time to act out its plan yet.

Teacher Kathleen Woodman said she felt hurt by the video, and said it implied the School District of Beloit is failing, which she rejected.

“I want choices for our kids, but we also must speak about public education with honest facts,” Woodman said.

However, one parent in the audience said he was interested in school choice, noting he took his children out of the school district after concerns about student reading abilities. He said school choice creates competition, and said he wants to stay in Beloit but seeks more choices for educating his kids.

State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, asked about choice schools in Milwaukee and how they may differ from Wisconsin public schools in their ability to provide year-round education and wraparound services.

Bender said some Milwaukee choice schools are able to provide year-round education, in addition to early and late programming during the week, to better serve their urban students. 

Bender acknowledged that some communities will prefer the traditional model, but said that private schools have more flexibility to meet local needs.

Those seeking more information on school choice can visit www.DontSayNoWI.com and www.schoolchoicewi.org.

In an interview after the meeting Loudenbeck said she recognizes the School District of Beloit has implemented many innovations to accommodate at-risk students, such as its Response to Intervention program. She’s also aware of the strong community support for the district’s efforts to improve, as evidenced by the recent referendum, and the need to project a positive image of Beloit.

“But the reality is that government generally operates on a ‘one size fits most’ model, and public schools are no exception. Some kids will not excel in their local public school. The idea of school choice in Wisconsin recognizes that low and modest income families may not be able to afford a private education option for their children that are not benefiting from a public school education. The parental choice program attempts to provide equal access to educational options for those students,” Loudenbeck said. “I believe that if you looked at any district in Wisconsin, regardless of district performance on a report card, that you would find students and families that would benefit from parental choice options.”

Loudenbeck said she would like to see a parental choice debate focused on the children and families that could benefit from school choice and private school vouchers, without targeting individual school or district performance.

“I realize that may be difficult, but I am willing to work with community members to continue a respectful and open discussion on this issue,” Loudenbeck said.

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35 comments:

  • DanG posted at 6:24 pm on Wed, Feb 13, 2013.

    DanG Posts: 89

    CC And your point is???? If your district is all that wonderful, then SDB should welcome the idea of vouchers. Perhaps more families would move to Beloit if they could have that voucher to help them put their kids in private schools.

     
  • Concerned Citizen posted at 8:43 pm on Sun, Feb 10, 2013.

    Concerned Citizen Posts: 735

    Dan - I am not sure you understand how the public school system in Wisconsin works. ANY child from ANY district could school choice to a district of their choice. The district must have room for the student/s and parents/family are responsible for transportation to and from school. So, a kid who wanted to come to Beloit Memorial from Edgerton would simply apply for open enrollment. The voucher program only impacts private schools.

     
  • DanG posted at 4:58 pm on Sun, Feb 10, 2013.

    DanG Posts: 89

    Seems like an idea worth at least trying. I doubt it could make our public schools worse and then we might actually have families moving into Beloit, helping increase the tax base there by helping us all.
    Also if the Beloit schools are as good as they claim, then they'd really benefit and people would move to Beloit just for the schools. So let's just put their claims to the test, give vouchers a try.

     
  • PWC posted at 8:04 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    PWC Posts: 739

    According to this article it was open in 2011-12 which is when the state collected its last data on schools.

    http://www.beloitdailynews.com/news/schools-look-to-expand-andrews-academy/article_e0788cae-c130-11e1-b2cd-001a4bcf887a.html

     
  • PWC posted at 7:58 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    PWC Posts: 739

    " Since when are conservatives in favor of collecting more tax dollars for any reason? "

    Ich - The way I understand this is that it would not be collecting more tax dollars but redistributing the tax dollars currently being collected for education. The dollars would follow the student. It would be no more of a "hand out" than the tax dollars that pay for education now. A person could be working three jobs and still not be able to afford private education for their kids. This is not a type of welfare being proposed.

     
  • Ich bin ein Beloiter posted at 7:20 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    Ich bin ein Beloiter Posts: 18

    I am interested in this idea of a free market and the school voucher program. Why is it that it is acceptable to give tax dollars to people so that they can have the government subsidize the free market in education, but it is not acceptable for the government to give people money to meet there basic needs. A welfare check is characterized as going to someone too lazy to earn there own way, but a voucher is not looked upon in the same way. Shouldn't those who want their child to attend a private school be required to show the same motivation to educate their children as is required to feed them? Since when are conservatives in favor of collecting more tax dollars for any reason? After collecting them they want to hand them out to people who are too poor to earn these things for themselves to spend however they want? The logic of this escapes me. It is not internally consistent. It would seem, then, that there must be some other explanation for conservatives taking up this cause than a sudden shift in their thoughts on collecting tax money and giving it to people who can not afford things on their own. Free markets working through tax dollar hand outs? It seems counter to the conservative ideology.

     
  • Ich bin ein Beloiter posted at 6:56 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    Ich bin ein Beloiter Posts: 18

    Eclipse Charter School in not included in the data because it is closed.

     
  • Mike_Zoril posted at 5:54 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Mike_Zoril Posts: 2758

    Delavan,

    Concerned Citizen said she didn't think the private school options at the HS level are anything worthwhile. A voucher program would provide extra funds for parents to afford tuition at private schools which would result in the following:

    1. Existing private schools may be able to make use of these extra funds by raising their tuition prices and adding programs or improving the quality of existing programs. For example, if private school tuition is $7,000/year today and the voucher is worth $5,000, it is possible that the parents are now only going to be out of pocket $2,000/year instead of $7,000/year. It is also possible that the school will raise tuition prices to say, $9,500/year and provide more/better services while the parents still get a reduction in out of pocket expenses to $4,500/year. Ultimately, the market will decide what is best for all involved.

    2. Private schools would instantly become within range of affordability for many more families compared to today. This would result in increased demand from families. In response, the increased demand would be met with increased supply. New private schools that do not exist today would likely pop-up. While Concerned Citizen is not happy with the current choices in private schools, one of these new private schools (that do not exist under today's conditions) may provide her a worthwhile choice.

    3. Instant pressure would be put on public schools to keep up with the private schools to avoid having to close their doors due to lack of funding (they would lose funding as they lose students to the private schools). Even if Concerned Citizen is not happy with the private school choices today and will not be happy with the new private school choices tomorrow, the increased competition may result in improving the quality of Beloit's public schools the same way somebody who never shops at Walmart gets lower prices at Target simply because Walmart puts pricing pressure on Target.

     
  • Delavan Mike posted at 4:45 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Mike Z,

    How do you figure: "if we did have a voucher program, it would help private schools compete on a more fair playing field with public schools and you might actually get some new choices that were not available before!"

    If parents can utilize school choice they can send their child to a private school. How does it increase the choices or programs available at the private school? How does it help private schools compete on a more fair playing field? They are getting the same amount of money per student, its just tax money instead of money paid directly by the parent. Is it because you think enrollment in private schools would go up and these schools would then be able to afford more programs instead of just pocketing the extra profit? Maybe, maybe not.

     
  • PWC posted at 6:06 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    PWC Posts: 739

    Good points, Mike. Here is another....OLA will not be forced to admit any students they do not want to admit. Would "concerned" explain how vouchers would "bring the achademics down"?

     
  • Mike_Zoril posted at 11:30 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mike_Zoril Posts: 2758

    Concerned - here's a question for you...you say that you wouldn't send your children to a private school because the private school options at the HS level are not worthwhile. What if you had no choice and were required to send your children to the private school anyway? Would that be okay with you? If not, then you're in favor of school choice.

    One other point worth mentioning is that if we did have a voucher program, it would help private schools compete on a more fair playing field with public schools and you might actually get some new choices that were not available before!

     
  • Mike_Zoril posted at 9:47 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mike_Zoril Posts: 2758

    Delavan Mike - do you honestly think that the only type of accountability that works is when government acts as the enforcer (like DPI)?

    Perhaps you haven't heard about Bernie Madoff's clients. Bernie Madoff's organization was accountable to the SEC. They of course made sure that nobody lost a dime, right? [wink]

    Accountability works best when consumers are in charge. When you have government run "accountability organizations," it leads people into a false sense of security and they drop their guard.

    As a free bonus, I'm going to leave you with a prediction. Sometime in the next 10 years, there will be a run on the banks. We will have a bank holiday just like what happened in the Great Depression and people will lose their deposits. Despite their bank accounts being FDIC insured, the FDIC does not have enough funds to actually insure the depositors. Because of FDIC insurance, people have deposited their money with banks that were reckless and they let their guards down - another example of a false sense of security.

    Also, I'll leave you with a brief statement on the history of public schools. The reason we founded public schools in the first place was to teach the children how to read the bible.

     
  • Concerned Citizen posted at 9:39 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Concerned Citizen Posts: 735

    I know many families of students who send their children to OLA or Rock County Christian that do not want the voucher program because they fear that it will bring the academics down in their school. I wouldn't send my children to a private school because I don't think the private school options at the HS level are anything worthwhile.

     
  • Mike_Zoril posted at 9:37 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mike_Zoril Posts: 2758

    Mary, profits are good. Whenever somebody turns a profit, it means they are creating value for society. Private schools cannot turn a profit unless they do a good job. Public schools on the other hand turn a profit (for the people on the payroll) regardless of the job they do.

    Re-allocating limited funds from one organization that is not accountable to its customers to one that is accountable is a benefit to society as a whole.

    In "Here we go's" post, it is possible that a private school may not accept their child as a student because of the additional special needs (and associated costs). In that case, I would argue that the voucher given to "Here we go's" family should have some sort of bonus added to it to help cover those added expenses.

     
  • Mike_Zoril posted at 9:29 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mike_Zoril Posts: 2758

    Wisl123, you say that public money should go to public schools. What for? Is our goal to support a government monopoly on education or to support our nation's children? If a private school can do a better job than a government school, what's wrong with giving the students/parents a voice and a choice?

    Also, I want to address a misconception. You say that private schools can raise tuition whenever they want. This is not true because they can only raise tuition to a point that their customers are willing to pay for it. This of course keeps tuition prices in check. Taxes on the other hand amount to tuition extracted from people at the point of a gun. If they don't pay, they will be removed forcibly from their homes by armed officers and their home will be turned into government owned property.

     
  • PWC posted at 7:25 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    PWC Posts: 739

    This is helpful data (from the DPI)

    https://apps2.dpi.wi.gov/sdpr/district-report.action

    I think parents wanting a choice is understandable. I am not sure if this voucher program is a good one, but I do believe in doing whatever we can to help each child succeed.

    As for accountability, it looks like the Eclipse Charter School does not have "school report card" data entered. Neither does Beloit Virtual School. I do not believe charter schools have the same rules either and they are funded with tax dollars.
    http://reportcards.dpi.wi.gov/rc_beloit

     
  • ttl posted at 4:40 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    ttl Posts: 3

    The data on the report cards are three plus years old because the newest data that the report card is averaging is a year old when it is received and to reflect growth it is another year old, and then they use older data to average in with the already old data. Check it out yourself at the DPI website. When asked why voucher schools have no report card the answer was that the state test (used for the report card) wasn't really valid anyway. Why would parents want to make uninformed decisions? Where is the report card or test data for voucher schools? Why would you not want to compare apples to apples? Is it a better school with better results just because you think so? If you were able to attend you would have probably completely agreed with Steve McNeal because the video used incorrect information overall even comparing Beloit's own public charter schools to Beloit's other public schools. His quote was only a piece of the whole point. The video made it look like all public schools are failures and the only way to solve it is to give money to voucher schools but with no accountability.

     
  • Delavan Mike posted at 2:56 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Mary brings up a good point about accountability. I do not believe private schools are under the authority of the DPI, so they can do whatever they want. My first year teaching was in a private school. I was assigned two classes to teach that I was not certified for alog with one I was cerified for. Because it was a private school that did not matter. I would not be allowed to teach those classes at a public school. If private schools are going to accept kids whose tuition is paid for with tax dollars, shouldn't they have to follow the same rules as public schools?

    Also, in this day and age when everyone seems so intent on separating church and state, I am surprised no one has taken issue with tax money going to religious schools.

     
  • Mary Erpenbach posted at 2:18 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mary Erpenbach Posts: 11

    I'm sorry, you must have missed the point that this particular presentation is funded by Koch Bros and others. I didn't mention it because I thought they were the only RW people with money -- sorry you misunderstood.

    Sorry you misunderstand, as well, the difference between a union and a few rich people who want to take what the union has worked for and use it to line their own pockets. More importantly, I'm sorry for all of us in Beloit if you think privately run schools that are financed by taxpayers will save us money, serve our children better, or be remotely accountable to the public. School choice has a place in education policy and education funding. A discussion needs to be had. Unfortunately, the circus act that came to town the other day was intended from the start to head off any sort of rational, respectful discussion. Like so much of what the Republicans have done in this state for the last two years, it was designed to inflame and divide.

     
  • Mary Erpenbach posted at 2:12 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mary Erpenbach Posts: 11

    Trust me, the people who were talking at the presentation have no intention of opening a school that would be remotely helpful to your son. This is nothing more, in my opinion, than wealthy people wanting to tap taxpayer dollars to further their own profits.

     
  • Mary Erpenbach posted at 2:11 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mary Erpenbach Posts: 11

    A respectful and open conversation is precisely what is needed. This was a presentation, funded by a group with an aggressive agenda to privatize schools -- to literally take taxpayer dollars and use them to fund schools THEY think should exist and to not be accountable to the taxpayers for how that money is spent. As for respectful, one of their presenters sneered that "public schools are not a jobs program" for teachers. Respect?

     
  • Wisl123 posted at 2:00 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Wisl123 Posts: 2

    I am not saying there are not public schools in need of improvement, but they are not allowed to charge tuition (and raise tuition) to maintain quality as public schools are. They are forced to offer the best they can offer with whatever is budgeted to them. They are forced to implement unfunded mandates, balance their budgets in the face of huge cuts,by eliminating staff and programs, enlarging class sizes, delaying improvements, and now cutting the compensation to their employees for doing their jobs in order to stay open. Private schools can raise thier tuition any time they choose...

     
  • Wisl123 posted at 1:48 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Wisl123 Posts: 2

    Mike- You say....Who should decide if the schools are failing? Should it be the people that have a vested financial interest in collecting their paycheck from the so-called failing schools or should it be the customers of those schools - students and their parents?

    First, what are the characteristics of a failing school? Is it a school that doesn't do all it can do to provide a quality education to children? Or maybe a school where people have personal issues with the staff? Or even a school that isn't housed in as "pretty" or new a facility? I think we need to separate a "failing" school from one a parent just doesn't like for some reason.

    Parents have school choice right now. They can dump their homes on the real estate market, add to the inventory already on the market, depress prices and the values of the homes of people that live in Beloit now, and they can move elsewhere. Or - you can give them a school choice program. They won't have to sell their homes and depress the value of your home. They also won't be forced to pay for educational services twice - once in their tax bill and then again in a private school tuition, assuming the voucher covers a good chunk of the tuition cost.

    Again, it isn't as black and white as that image makes it seem. Parents in WI DO have school choice within the public school system. It is called Open Enrollment. Families can choose any public school, even virtual charter schools. This argument makes it sound like there are NO good public schools and NO bad private schools. But public money (taxes) should go to public schools.
    We are assured a free public education, not that the taxpayers will pay for any private school you would like to send your child to. We have had a wonderful educational system in Wisconsin for years, but where can it go but down if our Governor feels it's ok to slash funding to the bone...then offer MORE of what is left to private education? It doesn't take much insite to see that there are people out there who don't care about the education of our children, and it's not the people working every day in our schools. It's the special interests who are figuring out ways to make a profit by creating deceptive pictures of the success of education in our state and pitting people against one another so we will take our eyes off of what's really happening.

     
  • PWC posted at 12:46 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    PWC Posts: 739

    Not having heard both sides of this proposed program or researched it sufficiently, I do not know how I feel about it. But I do believe that choice should always be an option with education for our children and I solidly believe that the one thing that makes something improve is competition. Those of us who want the best for Beloit's kids and know that competition is healthy might want to see this option for Beloit.

    Complaining about the presentation and implying that the DPI statistics are wrong is not going to help. Like Amy said, a respectful and open conversation is what we need. Wouldn't anyone wanting to improve education agree to that?

     
  • HERE WE GO AGAIN posted at 9:56 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    HERE WE GO AGAIN Posts: 14

    Being a parent my wife and I try to do what we think is best for are children. Yes that includes what schools we think would be the best fit for them. We had issues from the BSD for are oldest son who is a diabetic, the school was not able to take care of all his diabetic needs. When his was in 5th grade his sugar level was so low he passed out in class and the teacher told all the kids to leave him there while they go to the library. But one girl ran down to the office for help. Come to find out the nurse only went to that school 3 days a week and the only other person trained was not there also, so they called his mother and she had to tell them to call 911. After that we had tried for months to get BSD to change, heck the ADA even offered to train more staff for free, but the BSD turned them down. In the end we felt betrayed, we couldn't afford a private school, we even tried open enrollment for Turner but was turned down, So we did what we thought was best for him and that was to move him into to my parents house in the turner school district until we could afford to move.

    That right there is the reason why my wife and I support programs that gives parents more choices.

    Yes that includes, "The School Choice program"

     
  • RicksterM posted at 6:45 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    RicksterM Posts: 62

    Having been there and listened to their presentation I was disappointed at just how poorly they were prepared or knew our community. They'd clearly not done their homework. They had a canned presentation they were prepared only to tour around.

    On two separate occasions two different people cited the Roy Chapman Andrews Academy and the Eclipse Learning Academy to support their claims. They didn't realize until pointed out afterwards that both of these "alternative" schools are in fact BSD schools. Surprise! Further, there was no reference or acknowledgement of the referendum in their presentation. Regardless of your opinion of this it was kinda' big news and would have had some bearing on what they're proposing I'd think as a plan is being worked out. This too had to be pointed out to them.

    The video, produced by the conservative "shock-jock" radio show host from California? I found it highly offensive.

    Ask yourself the last TV commercial that you saw. Do you recall what was said. Likely not. Do you recall the pictures and images used. Likely yes. It was clearly IMO a vehicle for self promotion as he tours with this video. It will likely end up online and elsewhere. A large part of it is himself talking earnestly into the camera. The disturbing part was that he'd used very dour, provocative, inner-city looking, graffiti spray painted hallway lockers as the backdrop to the message. He admitted that he was using "stock" imagery and not from -any- of the communities he was referencing. It was clearly used for shock value. This CA radio host has clearly hitched onto a controversial topic and is touring the state perpetuating a false and misleading perception about Beloit to the rest of the state for his own personal brand building IMO. He referenced cable TV appearances in his introduction. I assume this kind of activity could lead to more of the same. This is the same misleading perception so many in this community have been working years to try and overcome. Yes. I took offense to this. Others may view differently. Sorry, can't hang around to debate. Pardon the long post.

     
  • Mike_Zoril posted at 6:13 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mike_Zoril Posts: 2758

    Mary - the difference is that private schools can only profit if they perform as good or better than all the other schools they would be in competition with (both private and public schools).

    Public schools, namely the people that work for them, profit at the point of a gun. Citizens are forced into paying taxes to support these institutions regardless of their performance. Ironically, the worse the school performs, the more money they want "to fix" things. In the real world, a failing business goes under to be replaced by a business that actually can serve their customers effectively.

     
  • Mentor397 posted at 1:27 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Mentor397 Posts: 1499

    So Mary, union money is okay, but money from the other interests is wrong? Not all right-wing money originates with the Koch brothers, but in that sarcastic comment you manage to disparage school choice proponents, boost Democrat attacks on these concerned parents, and undermine the entire concept of charter schools. (Hey, parents -- those aren't people concerned with the state of education, they're shadowy brothers who are trying to destroy your children and way of life!)

     
  • Mary Erpenbach posted at 10:55 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Mary Erpenbach Posts: 11

    Kristi LaCroix's flippant comment about public schools being "a jobs program" is actually quite breathtaking. In one sarcastic comment she manages to disparage teachers, boost GovWalker's attack on teachers, and undermine the entire concept of public education. (Hey, parents -- those aren't teachers, they're parasites who think they DESERVE to be paid for not even teaching you kids!) Then again, you've got to hand it to her -- she rode the rising tide of everything her union fought for and, now that unions are being decimated, she's jumping ship to man the cannons from the other side. While still drawing the salary that she would not have were it not for her union and the public's valuing of public education. I would respect her if she would name names, report to the administration those teachers she thinks are undeserving her their pay. But no. She joins a dog-and-pony show around the state that is paid for by Koch Bros et al just to stand up and be the teacher who says that "other teachers" aren't worth the money the public invests in them. Given her past performance, I just have to wonder: What's in it for her?

     
  • js20094 posted at 9:50 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    js20094 Posts: 1152

    I love the idea of school choice and the voucher system. It's going to make the Beloit district, its administration, and its teachers accountable, and thats exactly why the SDB would oppose it, they'd have to be accountable or lose the public funding along with the student(s).

     
  • Mary Erpenbach posted at 9:02 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Mary Erpenbach Posts: 11

    Don't kid yourself, Mike. The people who are "deciding" if schools are failing are the people who stand to profit -- enormously -- when schools are privatized. Parents? Students? Teachers? pfew!

     
  • PWC posted at 8:50 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    PWC Posts: 739

    Amy is my our representative -- regardless of where she lives. I am happy to know that she is open to conversation.

     
  • Beloit62 posted at 6:28 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Beloit62 Posts: 70

    There are simply not enough people to fund quality, full-service private alternative high schools in this town, even with vouchers. Beloit Memorial is able to provide an array of ap classes, athletic teams, and very good extracurricular activities. It's a good school district, given its considerable challenges.

    Americans for Prosperity is a right wing think-tank, funded in large part by the Koch brothers and other arch conservatives. Large cuts in state funding for public education matched with vouchers would decimate education in this community for everyone.

    Oh, doesn't Loudenbeck live in Clinton?

     
  • Mike_Zoril posted at 5:50 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Mike_Zoril Posts: 2758

    "Katz played a video presenting statistics, including a claim that “51 percent of Beloit schools were failing,” which prompted Beloit Superintendent Steve McNeal to interject that the claim was false."

    "Teacher Kathleen Woodman said she felt hurt by the video, and said it implied the School District of Beloit is failing, which she rejected."

    Let me propose this question to the readers:

    Who should decide if the schools are failing? Should it be the people that have a vested financial interest in collecting their paycheck from the so-called failing schools or should it be the customers of those schools - students and their parents?

    Parents have school choice right now. They can dump their homes on the real estate market, add to the inventory already on the market, depress prices and the values of the homes of people that live in Beloit now, and they can move elsewhere. Or - you can give them a school choice program. They won't have to sell their homes and depress the value of your home. They also won't be forced to pay for educational services twice - once in their tax bill and then again in a private school tuition, assuming the voucher covers a good chunk of the tuition cost.

    School choice means everybody wins except those with a financial interest in keeping things the way they are now.


     
  • PWC posted at 4:42 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    PWC Posts: 739

    I was not able to attend so I have no idea what the images were,but the DPI does show half of our schools "meeting expectations", and the other half "meeting few expectations". (The virtual school and the Eclipse school were not evaluated.) There are good things happening, but we have work to do. If we get angry and deny that, it does none of us any good. And as for the referendum not having time to "act out its plan yet", I'm not sure what was meant by that. While the upgraded buildings will be very nice for the kids and teachers, improved education comes from teachers, parents, curriculum, and programs.

    http://reportcards.dpi.wi.gov/rc_beloit

     

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