17. Maintain the Distinction Between Public and Private Schools (4/93)

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Whereas in the United States the distinction between public and private schools has always been maintained; and

Whereas this distinction ensures freedom of choice in education including the freedom not to be subject to any doctrinaire ideology, state religion, or monopoly in education; and

Whereas the United States constitution does not grant to the state any authority in education and the states have only quite recently passed compulsory school attendance laws which are based only on the U. S. constitution’s policing powers granted to the states; and

Whereas the Wisconsin Department Public of Instruction has authority over public and not private education; and

Whereas recent legislative proposals such as those requiring testing of students in private education (the expansion of the Milwaukee choice program); creating charter schools that are private but subject to the same state testing requirements as public schools and subject to the DPI’s approval and audits; and establishing state goals in education including Outcome Based Education goals would place the state and the DPI in authority over private education and would in effect eliminate the distinction between public and private schools; and

Whereas these legislative proposals would destroy three vital distinctions that grant choice and freedom in education to families in this country, namely, the distinctions between public and private education, the distinction between attendance and education, and the DPI having authority over public, not private schools;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members are opposed to proposals that weaken or destroy these distinctions and thereby allow the state to move from requiring attendance to requiring education and from regulating public schools to regulating private schools and that WPA will work to inform WPA members and the general public of the problems and risks associated with such proposals. 4/93

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