Letter in opposition to SB-22, the "Charter School Bill"

 22 March 2011

Dear Senators Darling, Olsen, Lazich, Vukmir, Kapanke and Galloway; and Representatives Vos, Kestell, Marklein, Van Roy, Kleefisch, Pridemore, Bies, Nass, Honadel, Ballweg, Knodl and Mursau,

I write in opposition to SB-22.  I have been closely following the debate surround this issue, and feel it necessary to stand up as a concerned parent and citizen of Wisconsin to voice my opposition to this very dangerous measure.

I have read article after article by public education policy analysts, experts, educators and administrators, and with the exception of those who have a personally vested interest in promoting charter schools, they all say the same thing: (1) there is no evidence whatsoever to prove that charter schools perform better than traditional public schools and (2) this bill goes too far in privatizing public education funds.  I am particularly concerned about the clearly partisan thrust of many aspects of this bill, and agree with the experts that any attempt to privatize public education comes at the expense of Wisconsin schoolchildren.  I am also disturbed by the bill's attempt to change certification requirements for teachers and fear this bill goes too far in allowing unqualified teachers and politically motivated agendas to easily take charge of potential or existing charter schools.  I am further disgusted by the changes to income eligibility requirements for charter schools, which essentially allow wealthy families in "good" districts to use taxpayer funds to send their kids to private schools.  This is duplicitous and immoral, and should not even be under consideration as the governor cuts 1.7 billion dollars from the public education system in his budget.

I do not want to send my child to the "best" charter or private school taxes can buy; I want all Wisconsin schools to be equally excellent. This is a goal we can achieve, together.

All Wisconsin children deserve the chance to attend a wonderful school. SB-22 not only reduces the likelihood of this possibility, but creates a situation in which public schools are defunded at the expense of private charter schools.  This is wrong. Please do the right thing by voting against SB-22 and for the future of Wisconsin public education.

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Blognote: readers who are looking for a nice model for their own letters can find one here, or feel free to use mine. Public Schools for Public Good has an excellent website with many resources, including a suitable-for-sharing overview of SB-22.

The public hearing on SB-22 will be held Wed., March 22 at 10:00am, 411 South State Capitol. Testimony can be presented in person or in writing.

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