“Wisconsin has had the voucher system for twenty years and has had no success,” Browning said last week outside the Washington Marriott where the right-wing American Federation for Children’s (AFC) education conference was taking place.
Speakers at the conference included Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Scott Walker, the anti-union governor of Wisconsin.
“We don’t want Pennsylvania to be following in the footsteps of Wisconsin,” said Browning. “All [that vouchers do] is siphon off the funds for public education and make it more difficult for our kids to receive public education.”
Also among the hundreds of protesters outside the Washington Marriott was Rachel Tabachnick, an independent researcher and writer from Pennsylvania.
“The public has a right to know that the voucher movement… is an astroturf movement very similar to what we saw with the Koch brothers and the war against the public sector unions in Wisconsin,” said Tabachnick.
In her recent article at Alternet (“The DeVos Family: Meet the Super-Wealthy Right-Wingers Working With the Religious Right to Kill Public Education”), Tabachnick wrote, “Since the 2010 elections, vouchers have popped up in legislatures around the nation. From Pennsylvania to Indiana to Florida, state governments across the country have introduced bills that would take money from public schools and use it to send students to private and religious institutions.”
“In essence you are just draining the funding from public schools,” said Tabachnick. “If you go and read the CATO Institute policy papers [or the] Heritage Foundation you will see that the intention is to drain the money from public schools, to make them not viable and to put that money into [the] privatization of education. That is the intent. They state it clearly. They’re proud of it.”