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Sunday, June 23, 2024

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Wisconsin Voters Favor Expanding School Choice, New Poll Finds

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Support for school choice is robust in Wisconsin as the Great Parental Awakening grows.

There’s strong support for expanding Wisconsin school choice among voters and support for educational freedom crosses political lines, according to a new poll.

“Wisconsin voters strongly support making all families eligible for the state’s school choice programs and favor ending funding inequities between choice, charter, and traditional public schools,” according to a February 21, 2022, news release from School Choice Wisconsin.

Although more than half of Republicans and Independents support school choice, more than one-third of Democrats did too, the poll found. It also found that 64.6% of voters want to see school choice expanded so that all parents can make their own decisions about where to send their children to school, regardless of income.

SCW released the results on education issues “in a scientific, random sample poll conducted earlier this month by one of the nation’s leading opinion research firms.”

“Parents want more options. They want to be more involved. It’s as simple as that,” said Nic Kelly, President of School Choice Wisconsin.

Strong Support Across the Political Spectrum

According to School Choice Wisconsin, the poll “showed support for school choice across the political spectrum. While strong Republican support is unsurprising, noteworthy is solid majority support among independents and sizable support among Democrats.”

SCW retained OnMessage Inc. to conduct the poll. The firm’s national recognition includes being named “Pollster of the Year” in 2019 by the American Association of Political Consultants.

“Wisconsin parents have four tax-supported options for enrolling children in K-12 schools. They are: (1) traditional public schools in the district where a family lives; (2) traditional public schools in districts other than where a family lives; (3) public charter schools; and (4) private schools in one of the state school choice programs. All parents may participate in the first three options, while the private choice programs are limited largely to lower-income families,” the release explains.

“Taxpayer support of charter schools and choice schools is about 60% of traditional school funding. Students at these schools generally outperform those in traditional public schools on state proficiency exams. Students in choice programs consistently score higher on the college-readiness ACT test. In Milwaukee, the state’s Department of Public Instruction finds that twice as many choice and charter students attend highly-ranked schools when compared with students in the Milwaukee Public Schools.”

Specifics from the Wisconsin School Choice Poll

“The following are highlights of voter sentiment regarding: support of school choice programs; making all families eligible; and ending the funding disparity between charter, choice, and traditional public schools. For each topic the questions posed to voters are presented along with responses,” SCW wrote.

THE WISCONSIN SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM ALLOWS LOWER-INCOME PARENTS TO SEND THEIR CHILD TO A PRIVATE SCHOOL OF THEIR CHOICE. PRIVATE SCHOOLS MUST MEET A STRICT SET OF REGULATIONS FOR STUDENT SAFETY, STANDARDIZED TESTING, PUBLIC AUDITS AND PUBLICLY REPORTING STUDENT PERFORMANCE. KNOWING THIS, DOES IT MAKE YOU FAVOR OR OPPOSE THE WISCONSIN SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM?
61.3% Favor
32.2% Oppose
6.4% Don’t Know/Refused
Seventy-seven percent of those identifying as Republicans expressed support, as did a
majority (53%) of independents and 36% of Democrats.

NOW I’M GOING TO READ YOU A FEW THINGS ABOUT THE WISCONSIN SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM. PLEASE TELL ME IF IT MAKES YOU MORE OR LESS LIKELY TO SUPPORT THE PROGRAM. STUDENTS IN WISCONSIN’S SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM SCORE HIGHER ON STATE TESTS THAN TRADITIONAL PUBLIC-SCHOOL STUDENTS, SCORE HIGHER ON THE COLLEGE READINESS TEST, KNOWN AS THE ACT TEST, ARE MORE LIKELY TO GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL AND ARE LESS LIKELY TO GET INVOLVED IN CRIME.
68.2% More Likely
17.9% Less Likely
8.4% No Difference
5.6% Don’t Know/Refused
Seventy-nine percent of those identifying as Republicans expressed support, as did
63% of independents and 43% of Democrats.

Universal Eligibility
PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT. CURRENTLY, ONLY LOW-INCOME FAMILIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR SCHOOL CHOICE VOUCHERS IN THE STATEWIDE PROGRAM. INCOME RESTRICTIONS NEED TO BE DROPPED SO THAT EVERY WISCONSIN FAMILY HAS THE ABILITY TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO A SCHOOL THAT’S BEST FOR THEM.”
64.6% Agree
31.1% Disagree
4.3% Don’t Know/Refused

Funding Equity
PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT. CHARTER AND CHOICE SCHOOLS HAVE BETTER ACADEMIC RESULTS COMPARED TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS YET RECEIVE LESS THAN TWO-THIRDS OF THE AMOUNT OF PUBLIC FUNDING TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS RECEIVE. IT IS TIME TO FULLY FUND CHARTER AND CHOICE SCHOOLS.”
53.7% Agree
38.5% Disagree
7/8% Don’t Know/Refused

 

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The Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that voters have serious doubts about Harris’ electability.

The poll found only 14% of voters said it was “very likely” Harris would win a general election for president if she became the Democratic nominee. Another 20% said it was “somewhat likely.”

The poll is especially noteworthy given Biden's age. The incumbent president is 81 years old and appears increasingly in decline.

A moment of confusion for Biden at a June 6 D-Day ceremony went viral last week, the latest in a string of similar incidents. At the same time, Biden remains competitive with former President Donald Trump, though several polls suggest Trump has a lead over the president.

Biden's incidents have led some to speculate that Democrats could or should try to replace Biden at the Democratic convention in Chicago in August. That would be a highly unusual, though not impossible, move. Removing Biden would naturally raise the question about who could replace him, but for now voters seem to lack confidence that Harris could win.

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(The Center Square) – Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol don’t want Gov. Tony Evers to waste the chance to get a good look at Milwaukee Public Schools’ shortcomings.

Evers recently called for an operational and an instructional audit of MPS.

“I’m proposing today to go two steps further with two important goals: the first, to audit MPS’ programs and operations in their entirety, and the second, to audit the effectiveness of teaching and instruction of our kids in classrooms across the district,” Evers said.

The governor, however, wants to keep the audit within his administration and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said that’d be a mistake.

“I’m glad that Gov. Evers has called for an audit of the Milwaukee Public School System. Gov. Evers and DPI should work with Joint Legislative Audit Committee Co-Chairs [Eric] Wimberger and [Robert] Wittke to discuss authorizing the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau to audit MPS, DPI and any other involved stakeholders,” LeMahieu said. “The LAB is more than capable of handling this important undertaking independently and transparently without the use of outside contractors.”

The worry is an audit controlled by the governor’s office will not fully look into MPS’s shortcomings.

The calls for audits in Milwaukee Public Schools come after the state withheld nearly $17 million last week because of incomplete and late financial reports. One of those reports was due to the Department of Public Instruction in September 2023.

Evers has asked MPS leaders to be a part of any audit process but warned that not everyone will be invited.

“I also have to say – I’m exceedingly disappointed by the politicking and jockeying I’ve seen since this situation came to light by opportunists who’re seizing this moment to serve their own selfish goals instead of worrying about what matters most: our kids,” Evers added.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos took to social media to accuse the governor of being the one who is playing politics.

“And who do you think [Evers] will suggest conducts the audits?” Vos asked. “The same failed DPI bureaucrats who allowed this to happen or his administration who wanted to dismantle the school choice system so all kids were forced into this MPS mess? We need real reforms to the current mentality where MPS has been protecting the bureaucracy and Gov. Evers has been advocating for shoveling hundreds of millions of dollars into this broken system.”

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An industry group says the Biden administration’s new staffing regulations for long-term care facilities are unrealistic.

The mandate requires that all nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding provide a total of at least 3.48 hours of nursing care per resident per day. Plus, nursing homes must have a registered nurse onsite at all times.

Research by SeniorLiving.org shows 82%, or nearly 12,000 facilities in the U.S., will need to hire staff or face being shut down.

Spokesperson Corie Wagner said Illinois is home to the fifth highest number of understaffed nursing homes in the country.

“If we were to apply the new policies and new standards to nursing homes in Illinois today, 84% of facilities would need more staff, and that is really significant,” said Wagner.

The mandate will be phased in over three years, with rural communities having up to five years.

Nursing home operators strongly objected to the minimum staffing proposal in September, saying they already struggle to fill open positions.

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Nearly 1.2 million residents live in Medicare- and Medicaid-certified, long-term care facilities, but Wagner said that number is expected to increase.

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A resolution aimed at overturning Biden’s nursing home staffing mandate has a legitimate chance to pass the U.S. Senate.

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