Voucher School Takes Money, Dumps Student

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Voucher schools have long been known to “dump” children with special educational needs and at-risk behaviors, even after accepting taxpayer money to educate those students. The public rarely sees this happen, or is faced with the hardship this creates for children and their families. However, the letter below provides a glimpse into how voucher schools inflate their reputations by ridding themselves of unwanted students.

In contrast, public schools must educate ALL children, including those experiencing academic, behavior, or parental issues. Increasingly, they are also forced to pick up the students expelled by outfits like Mount Olive, without any compensation from the state because the school already cashed the voucher.

This is unfair. It hurts the expelled students and their families, humiliating them and forcing them to change schools. It hurts public schools, both financially and by concentrating the share of at-risk children. Finally, it hurts the public, as taxpayer money is siphoned off for private gain.

A common argument of voucher school proponents is that these schools create competition for public schools, thereby increasing achievement across the board. However, when your “competitior” can skim the cream off the class crop, that’s far from a level playing field. It’s hard to imagine how this type of “competition” would be healthy for anyone.

With their unfair advantages, you’d think that voucher schools would at least appear to be doing better at educating students than public schools. However, often that’s not even the case. The same MPS school that enrolled the student identified in this letter received another student from a different voucher school that same week, which had been closed down because its operators left for Florida to start another voucher school. The closure forced MPS to absorb its 66 students, only one of whom tested “proficient” on the most recent Wisconsin State Concepts and Knowledge Exam (WKCE).

The result for MPS is an overall special needs population of well over 30% and decreasing financial resources. Public school educators do their best to provide quality education for their students, but this becomes more challenging with every passing year. Though voucher school proponents love to talk about “choice” and “achievement,” the real story is that these schools do a serious disservice to students, families, educators, public school districts and state taxpayers.

Despite these glaring problems with the Wisconsin voucher program, legislators in the state capitol continue to look for ways to expand it. It’s time Wisconsin taxpayers stand up and tell them no! How many more students will we let schools like Mount Olive dump before we fix the problem?

12 thoughts on “Voucher School Takes Money, Dumps Student

  1. Christine Domask

    My children were all educated through the LCMS – grade school and high school; Our grade school declined to participate in the voucher program (this was about 20+ years ago) because we knew we couldn’t meet the needs of all children. We knew we couldn’t provide the programs for special needs children.
    That being said, I’m not surprised that this occurred with the LCMS; my children were exposed to much hypocrisy at the high school level; Christian values were espoused, but certainly not practiced. My children received an excellent education despite these obstacles, however, they don’t attend any churches, and neither my husband nor I belong to LCMS any longer.

  2. Trina Clemente

    This scam must be stopped. Allowing taxpayers to make payment for services not rendered is not acceptable. Forcing public schools to provide services without payment is likewise not acceptable. Watching as child after child falls through cracks or is kicked to the curb is simply unspeakable. Stop the scam!

    1. lmsfinally

      “Allowing taxpayers to make payment for services not rendered is not acceptable. Forcing public schools to provide services without payment is likewise not acceptable.”

      Why is it acceptable for taxpayers to make payments for public schooling if they don’t have children or agree to pay for a private school. Isn’t that forcing a payment for no services?

      1. Alex

        No, you are still receiving services from the public school even if you don’t have kids or you pay to send your kids to a private school.

        The service you are receiving is that you live in a society with an educated workforce rather than a society with a bunch of illiterate unemployable people walking around.

  3. Bradley Nommensen

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for publishing this. As a special education teacher, I find it completely immoral and decidedly UN-Christian what many of these so-called Christian schools do to my students by taking their money and then denying them their education. I have had many instances in my classroom where IEP students spent a limited time at a voucher school, only to be booted out and returned to me. Choice means choice, and this parent had no choice. If you can’t educate them, don’t be a choice school, and don’t steal their money.

  4. June

    It is shocking to me that the principal uses the closing “In Him.” He kicked this child out in Jesus’ name? I can’t believe he could even write that.

  5. GD

    I found this on Facebook and do not frequent this website. Ok, I can understand if the family is upset that their kid got kicked out of school. But I am sorry, if that kid and that family are not willing to work with the school then why should the school keep that kid. Where is the parental responsibility here? The school can only do so much; the parent needs to take responsibility. It is just going to get worse. The choice program is going to slowly ruin this school. The parents (I was one of them) help this school by participating in school activities and taking responsibility of their children. The choice program started two years ago here and the level of participation is slowly decreasing. This is hurting the school which in turn is forcing families out. So the person that sent this letter to this site is upset because their kid got kicked out?? What did this parent do to make sure that this didn’t happen?? Did they go to the school and ask for help, did they work with their kid and try to assist with homework or deal with behavioral issues? It is NOT fair to the other students if this kid stays in this environment if he/she is causing problems.

    1. MagFab

      Using public school funds to educate students in private school settings is not fair. Sure the Lutheran school keeps the funds, and now that student can go back into the public school – and the school must pay for that student’s education while receiving NO FUNDS to do so. If private schools receive voucher funds, they should be forced to keep the student under the same rules as public schools. Let’s compare apples to apples!

    2. KD

      I believe you are missing the point of special need vouchers; there is no accountability for the school. Never in this letter did it say that the parent is “not taking responsibility.” The child could be asked to leave the school because the school does not have the appropriate and adequate skill set to handle the needs of the child. The problem lies within the school system. There are times that parents needs to “take responsibility” but often with special needs vouchers its the school that is taking advantage of the family to obtain funding anyway possible. Ultimately leaving the school unable to handle the situation.

  6. Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

    These schools take public funds away from public schools, and then make a half-hearted pretense at educating the kids before dumping them on the curb. MPS has no such luxury: they MUST educate all kids, whether they have any funding left or not after the religious-indoctrination schools rake in their slices. I do not approve of my tax dollars being used for madrasas, be they Muslim or WELS or Catholic or Hare Krishna; or ripped off by for-profit pirate scams.

    And lmsfinally: public schools are one of the necessities of creating a civilized culture; the alternative is living among people who were either not educated at all, trained to a minimum level by for-profits that spend more money on advertisements than on teacher and librarian salaries, or brainwashed by fanatic true believers (like the poor kids of both confessions in my ancestral Northern Ireland).

  7. MH

    I would have to agree with GD, well said and addressed. If the kid is getting bad grades and demerits, then either the parents do not care to help the child succeed or the child does not care to try to succeed, or this school is not a suitable fit for this child’s academic capability. Have they tried canine obedience school? Maybe the child can learn simple commands like “Sit, Beg, Roll Over”…

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