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Tool of the Week: The private school hypocrites

Empower Wisconsin | Feb. 3, 2020

MADISON — What do you call a lawmaker who has enjoyed all the benefits of a private school education and works to destroy the same opportunity for poor kids? A hypocrite. 

That’s an apt descriptor for Sen. Chris Larson and Rep. Jonathan Brostoff. 

As Empower Wisconsin reported last week, the Milwaukee liberals unveiled a bill that would phase out the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, preventing new students from enrolling in voucher schools beginning in the 2020-21 school year. They announced the legislation at a Capitol press conference the same day that Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos led a School Choice rally at Wisconsin’s statehouse.

Brostoff and Larson used phrases like “failed experiment” and “morally wrong” to describe Wisconsin’s parental choice program, the oldest and most successful voucher program in the country. What they didn’t mention is that they attended private schools. 

Larson graduated from St. Thomas More High School, a Catholic private school. It was not part of the Parental Choice Program at the time Larson attended but is today.

Brostoff went to a “private alternative high school,” according to a 2008 story in the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. 

Of the 21 5-star schools in Milwaukee with 80 percent or more minority students, 14 are Milwaukee Parental Choice Program schools, and five are charter schools not affiliated with Milwaukee Public Schools. They are islands of education excellence surrounded by public school failure. 

Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin, told Empower Wisconsin: 

“These highest-performing schools are teaching predominantly students of color and Larson and Brostoff want to shut out those students.” 

Yep. That’s the way these hypocrites roll. But Brostoff and Larson aren’t just any run-of-the-mill hypocrites; they’re tools. 

And together they are Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week. 

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