MADISON, Wis. — While studies of the voucher program have failed to demonstrate higher achievement for students, pandering to the voucher industry has been lucrative for career politician Scott Walker’s campaign account. According to One Wisconsin Now executive Director Scot Ross that may account for Gov. Walker’s call yesterday to further expand the unaccountable private school voucher program.
“Gov. Walker has made a point of attacking and undermining our great public schools while larding the unaccountable and unproven private school voucher program with millions more in taxpayer dollars,” said Ross. “It doesn’t make sense from a student achievement standpoint, but with Gov. Walker you always need to follow the money.”
The pandering to the deep pocketed out of state ideologues behind the voucher movement has been lucrative for Gov. Walker’s campaigns. Since 2009, based on a review of state campaign finance records, he has raked in at least $1.4 million in individual contributions to his campaign account from voucher backers.
A 2013 report by One Wisconsin Now also revealed a web of right-wing groups were part of a $31 million plus propaganda campaign pushing massive privatization of public education in Wisconsin. Underwriting the effort is the Milwaukee based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe.
In his first budget, Gov. Walker made the largest cuts to public education in state history. Under Walker, support for Wisconsin’s K-12 schools was slashed by more on a per pupil basis than any other state in the nation.
Gov. Walker went on to enact a statewide expansion of the unaccountable private school voucher program. Statistics from the state Department of Public Instruction indicated that over two-thirds of students enrolling in the Walker expanded taxpayer funded voucher program were already attending a private school. To top it off, Gov. Walker signed into law a tax giveaway costing an estimated $30 million that would allow millionaires and others to deduct up to $10,000 in tuition costs for sending their children to exclusive private schools.
“We’ve seen time and again that Gov. Walker’s first, second and last concern is for advancing his own political ambitions. While our public schools and students might be getting left behind with his education policies, if he thinks it will help his campaign get ahead he’ll do it,” concluded Ross.