FLASHBACK: Tony Evers Called Expansion of School Choice Program “Morally Wrong”

By Collin Roth

As Governor Walker expressed his desire to expand school choice programs in his State of the State address on Tuesday, it’s important to recall that current State Superintendent Tony Evers called expansion of the school choice program “morally wrong” while speaking at a Green Bay high school in May of 2011. According to the Appleton Post-Crescent, Superintendent Evers told Green Bay Preble High School staff and students:

“Our public school system is under attack. To spend hundreds of millions to expand a 20-year-old program that has not improved overall student achievement while defunding public education is morally wrong.”

The context for Superintendent Evers’ remarks about the school choice program were during the debate over the 2011-12 budget. Due to the reforms, Governor Walker’s budget was able to cut state aid to public schools without causing massive layoffs, saving school districts more money to spend in the classroom. But Evers joined Democratic lawmakers and the teacher’s union to decry the Act 10 reforms, writing in a 2011 letter that “the collective bargaining changes simply go too far” and his belief that Act 10 would “permanently harm our public schools.”

Superintendent Evers vocally opposed Governor Walker’s budget and when the opportunity was presented, Superintendent Tony Evers signed his name to a Scott Walker recall petition.

Governor Walker’s 2011-12 budget expanded the school choice program from Milwaukee to include Racine. In the upcoming budget, Governor Walker is expected to expand the choice program further to include Green Bay and potentially other cities.

Superintendent Tony Evers has long been a skeptic of the Milwaukee school choice program, adament in his opposition to expand the program that allows parents to use a state-funded voucher to pull their child out of failing public schools and place them in a private or charter school.

Superintendent Tony Evers is up for re-election on April 2, 2013. He is challenged by Rep. Don Pridemore.

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