Journal Sentinel Censors Voucher Test Scores?
All the news about public school test scores, very little about voucher students.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel continues to maintain a firewall between its readers and positive news from the state Department of Public Instruction about voucher students.
When it released statewide test results last week, the DPI initially withheld data on students attending private schools under the state’s three parental choice programs. The state’s bureaucrats achieved their goal: the release — a day later — of positive comparative results for voucher students was ignored.
On Sunday Journal Sentinel education columnist Alan Borsuk’s weekly column focused on the state test results. Omitted was any mention of the fact that DPI data showed voucher students outperforming traditional public school students. Given Borsuk’s many previous columns about private schools in the choice programs, this glaring omission is egregious.
On Monday U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited Milwaukee’s St. Marcus Lutheran School. The new positive results, a trend in recent years, were an obvious point of discussion during a roundtable discussion that featured DeVos. Yet Monday afternoon’s online story by the Journal Sentinel’s education reporter excluded this information. (Her story did provide space for a number of children — disguised in adult costumes — who heckled DeVos in front of St. Marcus.)
Here’s a recap of the information the Journal Sentinel has withheld from its readers.
- Depending on the type of administered test, there are 30 different ways to compare public and voucher data. Voucher students out-performed low-income public students on 29 of 30 measures. Even more notable, voucher students out-performed public students in general on 24 of 30 measures. (See the summary from School Choice Wisconsin.)
- According to the DPI, public schools spend $13,505 per pupil.
- Per DPI, per-pupil voucher support for elementary and middle school students is $7,754 and, for high school students, is $8,400.
As a Journal Sentinel digital subscriber, I receive periodic homilies from Editor George Stanley. He dons the armor of a gallant journalist to explain the importance (which I don’t deny) of solid local journalism. Yet the paper that should be a go-to national source for information about school choice elects to boycott the issue.