Other Views: Questions for the governor ahead of his Milton visit
Today, Gov. Scott Walker is scheduled to visit Milton High School. The Milton Education Association has been a local leader opposing Walker’s policies that defund public education and divert badly needed funding from local schools to private voucher schools and private independent charter schools.
Nonetheless, the MEA welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate in Milton to the governor the true value of public education in providing outstanding opportunities for all students.
Despite the anti-union goals of Act 10, the MEA has forged a strong partnership with the Milton School Board and administration. Together, we have created a handbook and a compensation model that clearly demonstrates the high value of our teachers to both our students and our community.
Clearly, the Milton School District has suffered under the anti-public education policies of this administration. When the governor’s Act 10 was passed, public schools in Wisconsin saw decreased funding of $1.6 billion over two years. This year, the private school voucher program drained over $245 million from public schools statewide.
The MEA does support the proposed increase in per pupil state funding for 2017 to 2019. Nonetheless, Milton students (and public school students) continue to perform at or above achievement levels of private voucher schools and independent charter schools, despite the ability of those schools to hand pick their students and exclude students with special needs. The MEA is proud to be the representative of the outstanding public school educators that consistently achieve these results.
The governor will not be meeting with most teachers nor is he scheduled to take questions during his visit. However, questions that local teachers would like to ask him include:
-- Governor, you have repeatedly said that the state cannot afford to fund public education at 2010 levels. If so, how can the state afford to fund a second system of private voucher schools along with traditional neighborhood public schools?
-- Why are we now funding pupils in private voucher schools, 75 percent of whom were previously attending private schools at no cost to the taxpayers?
-- Governor, you repeatedly said that Act 10 is working, yet a recent study shows the number students entering teacher-training programs in Wisconsin has declined 28 percent. How can fewer young people wanting to be teachers be a success and good for children?
The MEA is proud to support public school education in Milton and elsewhere.
Michael Dorn is a math teacher at Milton High School and is president of the Milton Education Association.