School voucher debate on Capitol City Sunday - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

School voucher debate on Capitol City Sunday


MADISON (WKOW) -- A member of the Madison Board of Education debates the head of a private school lobbying group on this weekend's edition of Capitol City Sunday

The debate is over Governor Scott Walker's plan to expand taxpayer funded vouchers to nine more school districts, including Madison.

"We view the voucher plan to be devastating to public education in the Madison School District and the Madison community," says Arlene Silveira, a member of the Madison Board of Education.

"We support an unlimited program," counters Matt Kussow, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools.  "We think that every parent in the state should have the ability to send their child to the school that they want." 

Madison school board member Arlene Silveira defends her position by pointing to what she calls a failed voucher system in the Milwaukee School District.

"Any of the reports that we've seen on the voucher program in Milwaukee show that the private voucher schools performance is not as good as the Milwaukee Public Schools," says Silveira.

But Kussow points to statistics that show the opposite is true.

"When you look at African-Americans in the Milwaukee voucher program, they are 24% more likely to go on to college in a private voucher school than they are in the public school system in Milwaukee," says Kussow.

While the two disagree on everything related to the voucher expansion, both expressed concern over the Governor's proposed Charter School Oversight Board, which would be tasked with establishing more charter schools statewide.

"Its people sitting in the Capitol, or wherever they're going to be located, making decisions for our school district without knowing what is best for our school district," says Silveira.

"One of the effects of charter schools is that they're closing down private schools around the state, because they are taking a piece of our enrollment," says Kussow.  "They're free, they're public schools.  They tend to market themselves as a private school, but there's no tuition."

Capitol City Sunday airs at 9:00 a.m. on WKOW 27.

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