April 4, 2013
State Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) got his name in The Wall Street Journal last Friday, and not in a good way. The Journal editorialized about Republicans opposing expansion of Wisconsin’s successful school choice plan from Milwaukee and Racine to nine poorly-performing school districts, to give kids a better chance at a decent education.
The editorial admonished Ellis and other Republican voucher opponents to get on board with Governor Walker’s reform proposal.
But more interesting was Monday’s Green Bay Press Gazette story about polling that shows public sentiment on school vouchers is a coin-flip: Half of respondents say they don’t know enough about the idea to have an opinion and the other half are evenly divided, pro and con.
To us, this spells a golden opportunity for school choice advocates to get out in front and make their case. Once they’re informed, would fair-minded Wisconsin residents decide parents shouldn’t have any choice about where their kids go to school?
The trouble is there’s equal opportunity for teacher unions and school bureaucracies to make their bogus arguments and poison any chance for families to escape failed institutions that diminish their futures. The Green Bay school district—which operates a high school Senator Ellis once described as a “sewer”—is doing just that, campaigning to defeat school choice with its eyes on taxpayer dollars and nothing else.
With state budget deliberations going on over the next several weeks, we’ll soon know whether the proponents of choice or the guardians of a dismal status quo will have more energy and do a better job of reaching the public.