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Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013

Issue of the Week: Rally for Public Education

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The conservative business establishment and Republican legislators would love to kill off the public education system. After all, if they can divert taxpayer dollars from the public schools and into private or religious schools under their control, then they’ve got a new source of profits and campaign donations.

The problem, of course, is that education shouldn’t be a profit-making venture. Public education is a civil right.

That’s why we are urging Shepherd readers to attend Saturday’s Public Education Is a Civil Right March and Rally. Every child has a right to attend a fully functioning, fully funded school staffed by quality educators. And the best way to ensure that civil right is to support our local public schools, which educate the vast majority of kids in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the entire country.

It’s no secret that public education opponents are trying new ways to kill education by a thousand cuts. It started with vouchers in Milwaukee and charter schools linked to larger institutions. But now they’re expanding vouchers statewide, shielding those schools from accountability measures, and floating the idea of spinning off public schools into charter schools under the control of the state or a politically appointed board. If these “reforms” resulted in higher student performance, we’d support them. But years of data show that voucher and charter schools perform no better than public schools—and sometimes they are a whole lot worse.

The march and rally will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts (2300 W. Highland Ave.). Participants will march across the 16th Street Viaduct to Forest Home Avenue School (1516 W. Forest Home Ave.), where the rally will be held at 1 p.m.

For more information, go to publiceducationisacivilright.com or the rally’s Facebook page.

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