"Hustler Voucher Academies" and Privatization Disasters


According to recent Journal Sentinel news stories, LifeSkills Academy, a private religious school that joined the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in 2008-09, closed abruptly in December, which gave its 66 students little notice to find other schools. That voucher school had collected more than $200,000 from taxpayers this academic year to educate students--who now attend other schools!  Furthermore, the newspaper reports "no students attending LifeSkills were proficient in reading or math in 2012-13, except for a single fourth-grade student, according to the most recent state achievement test score results."  Wow.

And today's Journal Sentinel offers this update about LifeSkills Academy and its operators: 

"A husband and wife running a private Milwaukee voucher school that abruptly closed last month--after accepting a total of more than $2.3 million in taxpayer money--now live in a gated community in Florida by the beach, records show. Records show Taron and Rodney Monroe started a private Christian school this year in Daytona Beach. While the school in Milwaukee was running on fumes, they were telling Florida friends they had experience getting government grants for religious schools. Now the Monroes, who lost their five-bedroom home in West Bend to foreclosure, have disappeared."   Department of Public Instruction (DPI) spokesman John Johnson "said the department's authority over voucher schools, which are all private and predominately religious, is limited."

Limited. Hmmm. It brings to mind SAA's (School Administrators Alliance) message last year, that given the polished, well-financed campaign by private school voucher advocates, there's a need for all Wisconsin residents to understand three basic facts about private school vouchers: Private school vouchers do not improve student achievement; vouchers eliminate public accountability; vouchers take resources away from public school students.

It may interest you to learn (from AnnieJo's Jan. 15 post on Daily Kos) that on January 9, 2014 Gail Hicks testified before the Urban Education Committee of the Wisconsin Assembly about "New Hustler Academies"---the nickname she and her colleagues had bestowed on unscrupulous charter and voucher schools that have sprung up since Wisconsin's largest city became one of our country's largest experiments in educational privatization. To read more, go to www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/15/1269870/-Milwaukee-New-Hustler-Academy-/Voucher-School-Closes-In-The-Dead-Of-Night Needless to say, it is disturbing that Gov.Scott Walker signed a budget in July that included one of his big priorities--expansion of the state's school voucher program. \

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