There seems to be a unifying strategy used by progressive groups lately; every Republican candidate running for office appears to be a clone of Governor Scott Walker. Seriously. In the Milwaukee County Executive's race, for example, Democrat Chris Abele - son of billionaire tycoon John Abele - is running television ads depicting Republican Jeff Stone as a Scott Walker replica. And most recently, they are hoping the clone strategy works in the Supreme Court race against conservative incumbent Justice David Prosser.
Currently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court tilts conservative with a 4-3 majority. If David Prosser loses his seat, it will most certainly mean trouble for the recent expansion of Milwaukee's school choice program. Governor Walker's budget - already signed into law - will expand the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) into Milwaukee County suburbs. This is good news for Latinos on the south-side of Milwaukee.
This means that low-income students in Milwaukee will be qualified for spending a $6400 voucher on any approved private school in Milwaukee County. Poor Hispanic kids currently forced to attend South Division High-School, for instance, will now have the chance to attend any of the approved suburban private schools in Oak Creek, Franklin, South Milwaukee, Hales Corners, and so on.
If, however, David Prosser loses his seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, it almost certainly means that groups with ties to teachers unions will mount a legal challenge against the budget trying to reverse any expansion of school choice - quite possibly getting rid of school choice altogether. Is it possible they can win? In short, yes.
Special interest groups could challenge the constitutionality of using taxpayer dollars to fund the education offered by religious schools. And if a liberal-leaning supreme court finds it unconstitutional, schools like St. Anthony's in Milwaukee with a 99% Latino enrollment would have to close down. The 1400+ students that now attend St. Anthony's would be forced to leave.
Let's be clear, liberal activist groups do not favor school choice programs. They see it as an attack on public schools - mostly the teacher's unions that control them. We saw a few weeks ago when teachers unions organized a massive "sickout" going to Madison to protest. School districts in Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine were forced to close down for days keeping our children at home when they should have been in the classroom.
While MPS closed down, schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program were up and running. In fact, St. Anthony's School in Milwaukee sent out a reminder mailer informing parents that although MPS was closed, St. Anthony's School was still open for business. This underscores a problem in our schools. Teachers unions have the power to close down our public schools.
Losing a Supreme Court challenge will undoubtedly reverse every educational gain made in our Milwaukee Parental Choice Program for the last 20 years. It will also reverse gains made by St. Anthony's School on the south-side of Milwaukee.
Right now, Justice David Prosser is the only judge standing in the way of losing our choice schools. If Prosser stays on the court, liberal groups wouldn't waste the time and resources putting together a challenge. Think carefully when going to the ballot box on April 5th. Do you want St. Anthony's School in the hands of a liberal court? Do you want more low-income kids to become eligible for private schools in the Milwaukee suburbs? Or do you want the same education status quo that we've seen the last 30 years in our public schools?