When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker curtailed collective bargaining privileges for public sector workers (formerly known as public servants), it resulted in all-out political war in Madison.
Walker won the showdown, and now the state can get its financial house in order.
But that doesn’t mean Walker is done taking on the unions.
One of the governor’s next goals is to improve the state’s public education system by giving more kids access to quality schools. That means expanding Milwaukee’s wildly successful voucher program to even more families. And that means a raucous showdown with the teacher unions.
As part of his budget proposal, Walker wants to lift income restrictions on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program so that families earning up to 325 percent of the federal poverty line would quality for vouchers, the School Reform News reports.
Walker also wants Milwaukee voucher students to have access to all private schools in Milwaukee County, not just those within the city.
The voucher program was established in 1990, and is the oldest program of its kind in the nation.
The reality is vouchers are working in places like Milwaukee and Washington, D.C. because it gives kids a way out -- an alternative to the drop out factories known as public schools.
The Milwaukee voucher program has been enormously successful. EAGtv recently visited a school in Milwaukee that takes kids of all races, economic backgrounds and social classes and prepares them for life. The school, Eastbrook Academy, graduated its first high school class last spring, and reports that each graduate is currently studying in a four-year college program.
View EAGtv’s story here.
Those who value “social justice” should be the biggest supporters of school choice and vouchers. As EAGtv’s Milwaukee story shows, school choice benefits kids by allowing them to attend a school they otherwise couldn’t afford. It’s “spreading the wealth around,” in the form of quality schooling.
Still, President Obama and the vast majority of Democrats seldom miss the chance to vilify and undercut school choice programs. It was Republican John Boehner who reinstituted the D.C. voucher program during recent budget negotiations, not a Big Government social justice progressive.
Why the apparent hypocrisy? Just follow the money. The progressives are in the hip pocket of the teachers’ unions. During the 2007-08 election cycle, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers spent $71.7 million. (It’s a safe bet that money didn’t go toward promoting John McCain.)
For all that “investment,” unions elect a political class that is determined to protect the government’s monopoly over public education.
So instead of giving kids a lifeline out, progressives sentence kids to Drop Out Factories – awful schools that have high crime rates, lousy academics and adult school employees who are more concerned about their health insurance deductible and pension plan than they are about the quality of education being delivered to children.
The teachers’ unions have successfully infiltrated and bought their way into the leadership of an entire political party, to the point where politicians betray their constituents in some of the worst neighborhoods in America, just to get a union endorsement, campaign check, and boots on the ground at election time.
This is the battlefront Walker has chosen as his next major political showdown. It’s as if Walker is taking on the Gambino family one at a time.
Apparently, Scott Walker knows no fear.
For the sake of Milwaukee’s children, let’s hope he prevails.