Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

1852, 26 Sep 14

Burke Opposes School Choice

No secret here.

The most effective argument against expanding Wisconsin’s statewide voucher program is how much it could cost, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said Monday.

“We have to get out of the ideological warfare on this (issue) and let’s just talk dollars and cents, which resonates with just about everyone,” Burke said.

Burke’s comments were made to attendees of an invitation-only panel discussion at UW-Madison. About 40 people attended the event, which included National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García. The discussion was moderated by Wisconsin Education Association Council president Betsy Kippers.

Burke pointed to a $1.2 billion projected total annual cost of the voucher system if it expanded, which she said would likely be at the expense of programs and teachers in public schools.

“We’re all smart enough to realize that if there’s a certain amount of funding that is going to the voucher program, unless the taxes are raised to pay for that or it comes from another part of the budget, it’s going to come from the public schools,” Burke said.

Notice that Burke is talking to a crowd packed with public school advocates, so she talks about what she thinks is the best way to combat school choice without leaving any room for anyone who supports school choice.

But to her point… the financial argument always falls flat for me. Yes, if the state sends money to a choice school because a kid opts to attend it, those dollars are going to be taken from the public school. But also, the PUBLIC SCHOOL DOESN’T HAVE TO EDUCATE THE KID. When a kid goes to a choice school, the public school district incurs zero cost to educate that kid. And the voucher funded by the taxpayers is less than what it would take to educate that kid in the public schools.

Here’s what we have when kids use the school choice program: taxpayers spend less; public schools have no cost; child receives an education more to the family’s liking. Who loses here?

But that’s just it. Lefties don’t oppose school choice because of the financials, educational rigor, or anything related to what’s best for the kid. They oppose it because it decreases the market share of a government institution. And we can’t have that.


1852, 26 September 2014


  1. Charlie Hillman

    Welcome back Owen and Jed. I’ve missed our times together.
    School choice is a megatrend – there is no turning back.
    I’ve always liked the Dutch model.

  2. purplepenquin

    The fact that the rightwingers have to misrepresent school vouchers as a “choice” issue speaks volumes. Ya’ll obviously know it can’t be sold on its own merits so you call it something it isn’t.

  3. purplepenquin

    “Who loses here?”

    The single guy whose wallet you’re reaching into to pay for your kid’s education while taking away his vote on how that money is spent is who loses.

  4. Steve Austin

    As a single guy, I’d be thrilled that the government is finally contracting out education to the free market, where many new providers can do the job either better or cheaper or both.

    Sounds like a much better alternative the the “government schools” we’ve had to fund for years now.

  5. Kevin Scheunemann

    “The fact that the rightwingers have to misrepresent school vouchers as a “choice” issue speaks volumes. Ya’ll obviously know it can’t be sold on its own merits so you call it something it isn’t.”

    Of course leftwingers never misues the word “choice”. Baby killing pawned off as “choice”, or abortion, is a far worse offense.

    At least when “rightwingers” (or as I prefer, “great Americans”) use the word “choice”, they want to give kids the option to escape failing public schools.

    So Rightwingers use the word “choice” to save kids, vs. leftwingers use the word “choice” to make make society stomach the extermination kids through abortion.

    A far more moral use of the word “choice” in my opinion.

  6. fishaddict

    The issue as I see it that the MPS school system does lose out and here is why. For ages they have built an infrastructure based solely on the infrastructure. It is independent of the student. What I am saying is the cost would be the same for a school system, manpower, and misc expenses whether there were 50 students or 50000. The fact that they can alter the numbers by saying it only costs $X per child in MPS due to the sheer numbers of kids able to be used to defray the average cost per student. reduce the number of students and suddenly the amount per child skyrockets. It is similar to being able to produce 5 widgets for a dollar if efficiency goes up and you are able to produce 10 the cost per unit goes down.

    I read an article in time or newsweek or some such in a docs office and revealed was that the city of Detroit’s dpw has a team of Farriers. Why would you ask? it is written into the union contract. What do the do for their salary? don’t rightly know but making cash for plying a trade for no one has to be a good gig.

  7. Kevin Scheunemann


    So we have a system that is more concerned with infrastructure than children’s education….you are correct.

    It is also an indictment of status quo public school system.

Pin It on Pinterest