FFRF hails Gov. Evers’ voucher veto

Vouchers

In a move celebrated by the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a dangerous bill that would have expanded Wisconsin’s statewide private school voucher scheme.

The statewide voucher program, Wisconsin Parental Choice, was founded in 2013 and is one of several failed voucher schemes in the state. AB 59 would have nearly doubled the income eligibility cap, to more than three times the federal poverty level, disenfranchising public schools and undermining the false narrative that vouchers are only available to low-income families. Since the bill passed both legislative chambers along partisan lines, FFRF trusts that Evers’ veto will be safe.

Both Wisconsin’s statewide voucher program and local versions, in Milwaukee and Racine, have demonstrated myriad problems. Students who attend voucher schools have not shown any increase in academic performance, forcing taxpayers to subsidize private, mostly religious school tuition, for no valid secular reason. Unfortunately, voucher schools are not subject to the same regulations as public schools, which invites fraud and has historically led to millions of taxpayer dollars that should have gone to public schools instead funding failed private schools.

Nearly every voucher school in Wisconsin is religious. The voucher program is improper taxpayer funding of exclusionary religious education. Vouchers are not palatable to nonreligious families, and also exclude many students with special needs. The program additionally robs funding from rural areas where students don’t even have a viable private school option.

“The data is in, and Wisconsin’s voucher experiment has been a total disaster,” comments FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “With his background in public education, Gov. Evers knows this better than anyone. The state Legislature should take note and end Wisconsin’s disastrous vouchers instead of trying to expand them.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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