One Wisconsin Now v. WPRI, UW style

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The polling partnership between WPRI and UW gets even more sketchy.

One Wisconsin Now, an advocacy group based in Madison, says it has evidence that a University of Wisconsin-Madison polling project downplayed state opposition to private school vouchers after a think tank — which helped pay for the poll — raised concerns.

The rundown is this. A poll done by a UW polling project under the direction of UW Poli Sci Professor Ken Goldstein, and financed at least in part by WPRI (that super-conservative Wisco think tank), found that Wisconsin residents did not favor school vouchers, except in Milwaukee County. But, the press release put on the UW website only mentioned Milwaukee County support for vouchers, and ignored statewide opposition.

As Goldstein pointed out, there was nothing wrong with the poll itself. However, what matters is what the public sees of a poll. And the public, based on this press release, clearly got a skewed view of this polls results. One Wisconsin Now cries foul, I agree. Why does our University continue to partner with an organization that no one takes seriously?

Maybe a better question to ask: why are people, specifically liberals, so opposed to school vouchers? If done correctly, I can’t imagine a better way to limit the role of family wealth on education and opportunity.

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One Response to “One Wisconsin Now v. WPRI, UW style”

  1. Ordinary Jill Says:

    Private schools, even those that accept vouchers, are not required to accept every student that applies. That means they cherry-pick the higher-achieving students and leave the lower-income and special-needs kids for the public schools to educate. Studies have shown that the best predictor of how well a student will do in school is not their own income level, but the average income level of their classmates. A high percentage of low-income and special-needs students brings down an entire public school.

    Right now, vouchers are only available for poor kids in Milwaukee. That means the private schools, who are suffering from low enrollment and difficulty collecting full tuition, are happy to take some of them. If vouchers were expanded to the general public, however, they would quickly morph into a form of government-funded white flight.

    That is probably why people, specifically liberals, are so opposed to school vouchers.

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