For the second consecutive year, state Superintendent Tony Evers has used his bully pulpit at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to imply that the Badger State is throwing more money at a voucher program that is inferior to a traditional school system which is receiving less. But a closer inspection of Mr. Evers’s gamesmanship reveals the tricks he employs to attack a program he once called “morally wrong.”
Closer inspection of Mr. Evers’s gamesmanship reveals the tricks he employs to attack a program he once called "morally wrong."
Just like last year, Evers distributed a press release this week asserting that students in the Milwaukee and Racine voucher programs scored no better, and in some cases worse, than district students on Wisconsin’s standardized test. We all know that such comparisons are problematic because of “selection bias” since nobody can be sure whether kids using vouchers and those using the public schools differ in important ways. (The former might, for example, have fled bad districts precisely because they were doing poorly there.)
Especially galling was Evers’s use of the Racine data.
His press release claims that far more district students in that city scored at grade level or better in reading and math than did Racine students who chose the private school voucher, barely half of whom were rated proficient in either subject.
But what the superintendent failed to note was that voucher recipients had been in their chosen private schools for only two months before taking the...